The BBC reports on Japan banning American long-grain GM rice. The ban will remain in effect
until the US can say the rice no longer contains the genetically engineered variety. This ban will not affect the majority of American rice imported by Japan which is short and medium-grain.
The US agriculture secretary Mike Johanns said:
There are no human health, food safety, or environmental concerns associated with this (genetically engineered) rice.. Johanns replaced Ann Veneman as US agriculture secretary. Veneman received high marks from trade and industry groups and held the office during an outbreak of BSE or “mad cow disease” in the US. Japan reacted to mad cow by inspecting every imported cow destined for the food supply. The US declared it wasn’t much of an issue and shortly thereafter other cows were found to have mad cow disease. Johanns has his work cut out for him if he wants to make the USDA more than a mouthpiece for industry and corporate globalization efforts.
Getting back to the Japanese long-grain rice ban: Why are we genetically modifying rice? Is it ostensibly to get vitamins we could get by eating a better diet in the first place? Is it to grow enough food to prevent starvation? If so, that effort has failed; people lack food around the world including in the US. Where does one find the results of rigorously testing GM food to make sure we’re not eating things that will harm us?