CDC preliminary findings on GE corn - Apr. 30

Martha Rosett Lutz lutzrun at
Sat May 12 15:49:49 EDT 2001

Chris Durden wrote:

"Perhaps common usage has broadened the definition of the word at the
same time that technical usage has narrowed it - a real dilemma for
communication."  (With regard to the definition of 'toxin.')

That sounds right on the money.  I can agree that some toxins will be
capable of inducing antibody production, but I don't agree that anything
that induces antibody production is a automatically a toxin.  I think Chris
Durden is exactly correct that the technical definition is specific and the
common usage is broader.  For purposes of making decisions about what
substances to allow in foods, however, the narrow technical definition may
be more useful.  Otherwise, anything that has ever (or could ever) cause an
allergic reaction is subject to being banned from all foods.  I still think
a requirement for accurate labels is the best solution.  This allows those
individuals with allergies to avoid trigger foods, while allowing others to
utilize a wide range of foods--a varied diet is something that most
nutritionists agree is a healthy diet.  If we automatically ban Bt foods
because they may cause allergies in some individuals, then people who have
documented allergies to peanuts and gluten and chocolate (et cetera) have a
good case for demanding that their trigger foods also be banned.  We'll end
up with an awfully narrow selection of foods in the grocery stores.  Which,
by the way, is what we would probably also end up with if we ban all
pesticides.  We're faced with some tough choices, trying to feed the
world's population without destroying out planet.  If common sense were
really common we would be better able to find solutions without hurting one
another (that's just my opinion, though).

In Stride,
Martha Rosett Lutz


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