The Viva Vine: vol #3, no #1: January / February 1994
BGH: The First Test

While food and drug companies sit on the verge of bringing hundreds of genetically engineered products to market, the City Council of Chicago startled the nation by unanimously passing (50-0) an unprecedented ordinance, which requires that grocery stores and restaurants display signs identifying genetically engineered foods. (Current federal policy will allow most of these novel substances to be sold untested and unlabeled.) These genetically engineered products raise a number of very serious questions regarding human health, environmental safety and ethics.

bgh protestersThis photograph was taken at one of the early milk dumps which took place before BGH became legal. Photo was taken on the upper west side of Manhattan in front of D'Agostino's [CLICK IMAGE TO SEE ENLARGEMENT];
Photography by Vito Torelli

The deliberate or accidental release of some of these man made organisms into the environment may lead to forms of "biological pollution" which have never been experienced before. Genetically engineered products often contain genetic material from dissimilar plants, animals, viruses and bacteria. Eating a product containing even one animal (or human) gene would be repugnant to a vegetarian (or even a non-vegetarian!), or prohibited for those with religious guidelines about the way they eat. The genetically engineered bovine growth hormone was recently approved by the FDA and will be in grocery stores all over the county in early February. Join The VivaVegie Society, Email: pamela@vivavegie.org and the Washington based Pure Food Campaign, 202/775-1132, to demonstrate oposition, and try to nip genetic engineering in the bud by discouraging commercial uses. Perhaps New York City can be convinced to follow Chicago's lead!

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