The Frankenfood Myth

The Frankenfood Myth

How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution

Book - 2004
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Few topics have inspired as much international furor and misinformation as the development and distribution of genetically altered foods. For thousands of years, farmers have bred crops for their resistance to disease, productivity, and nutritional value; and over the past century, scientists have used increasingly more sophisticated methods for modifying them at the genetic level. But only since the 1970s have advances in biotechnology (or gene-splicing to be more precise) upped the ante, with the promise of dramatically improved agricultural products--and public resistance far out of synch with the potential risks.

In this provocative and meticulously researched book, Henry Miller and Gregory Conko trace the origins of gene-splicing, its applications, and the backlash from consumer groups and government agencies against so-called Frankenfoods--from America to Zimbabwe. They explain how a happy conspiracy of anti-technology activism, bureaucratic over-reach, and business lobbying has resulted in a regulatory framework in which there is an inverse relationship between the degree of product risk and degree of regulatory scrutiny. The net result, they argue, is a combination of public confusion, political manipulation, ill-conceived regulation (from such agencies as the USDA, EPA, and FDA), and ultimately, the obstruction of one of the safest and most promising technologies ever developed--with profoundly negative consequences for the environment and starving people around the world. The authors go on to suggest a way to emerge from this morass, proposing a variety of business and policy reforms that can unlock the potential of this cutting-edge science, while ensuring appropriate safeguards and moving environmentally friendly products into the hands of farmers and consumers. This book is guaranteed to fuel the ongoing debate over the future of biotech and its cultural, economic, and political implications.

Publisher: Westport, CT : Praeger, 2004
ISBN: 9780275978792
Branch Call Number: 363.192 M648
Characteristics: xix, 269 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Conko, Gregory P.


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Jun 02, 2015

Though obviously biased the authors make a strong case for a revision to the regulations surrounding recombinant DNA technologies. Arguably safer then traditional genetic modifications of "natural" foods the more burdensome regulations and tracking ultimately hurt the poor. The author touches on a much broader problem of the large multinationals encouraging just enough regulation to create a significant barrier to market entry. Well annotated with credible references there are instances where trenchant statements are not noted. This book focuses on regulations around the world then the actual science involved in the manipulation of DNA. There are a few arguments that are used against GM foods that the authors do not touch on. Definitely worth reading if you want to educate yourself on some of the aspects of GM foods.


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