Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA
Rutgers Model United Nations 11 nearly the same scrutiny. When a cow or pig consumes genetically engineered soybeans, the pesticides contained in the soybeans can affect the nutritional value of the meat of that animal. The same concept applies to hormones used in animals to increase the size of adults. When growth hormones alter the size of a pig, those hormones can affect the consumers of the meat. Despite the large US involvement with genetically modified foods and plants, the United States Department of Agriculture reported that in 2006, only 6 per cent of the total agriculture in the state was genetically modified. 46 This statistic means that despite the fact that cotton, corn, and soybeans are for the most part genetically modified, other crops in the United States are naturally occurring varieties of the plant species. International Concerns While the United States embraces GM foods, many other states do not accept the claims of biotechnology companies and remain staunchly opposed to the farming or consumption of genetically altered foods. Recent occurrences reflect this international opinion, as seen in the international concern over US rice exports. In 2006, US exports of Cheniere rice contained Bayer CropScience’s LLRICE601, a type of genetically altered rice grain. 47 While US agriculture officials maintain that LLRICE601 poses no threat to consumers, the European Union’s zero tolerance for genetically modified rice and international concerns had dramatic effects on the US rice industry. 48 US government banned farmers from planting Cheniere rice for two years, and the FDA must test all rice for traces of LLRICE601 before shipment to markets. 49 Movements against genetically engineered products occur in other states, with Russia being one of these states. In November 2006, two of Russia’s leading food and feed importers adopted policies to eliminate the importation of genetically engineered crops. Sodruzhestvo, Russia’s leading soybean importer, and Rybflotprom, controller of 46 Ibid. 47 The Associated Press, “Rice Federation Officials say farmers key to foreign markets,” 25 January 2007, accessed via Lexis-Nexis 48 “Rice Federation Officials say farmers key to foreign markets 49 Ibid.
Rutgers Model United Nations 12 7 per cent of the Russian feed market, were the two companies adopting the new policies. These policies decreased the demand for genetically modified food, and thus decreased the profits of the primary producers, the United States and Argentina. Other states, such as Brazil, will see an increase in demand of their natural soy products. While people throughout the world remain concerned over the potential dangers associated with genetically engineered foods, there has yet to be a case where the consumption of genetically engineered foods harmed the consumer. 50 International Legislation The United Nations General Assembly adopted a few resolutions relating to GM foods, focusing on the use of these foods to improve international food security. The most important of these resolutions is Resolution 59/236, as adopted by the General Assembly. The resolution calls for member states to join the Convention on Biological Diversity in order to reach an international consensus on the status of GM foods. 51 The resolution recognizes the importance of genetically modified crops in the battle against world hunger, noting their importance to international food security. 52 Furthermore, the resolution calls for member states to ratify the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. 53 The treaty, also known as the International Seed Treaty, focuses on using plant genetic resources to secure food sources for states as well as incorporate an international benefit sharing system. The goal of the International Seed Treaty is to facilitate farmers throughout the world in utilizing the benefits of plant genetic resources. In other words, the treaty promotes the natural production of genetically altered crops via cross breeding certain plants to inherit desired traits. Observed as a natural process and only speeding up naturally occurring cross-pollination of plants, the international community accepts this process for crop production. Supporting states hope to bring about the desired ends of GM foods without the 50 Targeted News Service, “Biggest Russian Food, Feed Importers Adopt Genetically Engineered Free Policy,” 23 November 2006, accessed via Lexis-Nexis 51 UN Resolution 56/236, Adopted 28 February 2005 52 Ibid. 53 UN Resolution 56/236