“Now, Professor Walter Alhassan Sando says that, as a Moslem, if he hears that the pig's genes have been used to genetically change or manoeuvre rice, he would not eat it!” - BLAKK RASTA
In the course of a routine mobilization campaign for the March Against Monsanto, I was invited, together with the FSG Secretary, Mr. Kweku Dadzie, to an interview with DJ Blakk Rasta on Hitz FM.
In the course of the interview, our host, Blakk Rasta called in Professor Walter Sando Alhassan to present the other point of view. We are very pleased that he was called in. The interview with Prof. Alhassan was very different from any we have had shared with him on both radio and TV.
The host asked pertinent questions that found the GMO professor completely wanting.
“If there are any lingering doubts that the advocates of GMOs in Ghana might be well-meaning people who genuinely believe in what they are talking about and are really convinced about what they are saying, that doubt disappeared.” Said an astonished Chairperson of the FSG, Mr. Ali-Masmadi Jehu-Appiah. “The performance of Professor Walter Sando Alhassan was pathetic, to say the least.“
It was obvious at the end of the interview that Professor Alhassan was not going to sleep well. Food Sovereignty Ghana has taken a serious view of some of his pronouncements and shall soon be issuing our reaction to the propaganda spouted by Prof. Alhassan. He presented GM crops as harmless as insulin!
Another thing that was new was his public declaration of the Monsanto dogma of “substantial equivalence”. Is “substantial equivalence” a science? No matter how one looks at this, this is shocking. We shall be challenging Professor Alhassan to prove the authority behind his classification of GM food as the “substantial equivalent of food”, other than Michael Taylor, former Vice-President of Monsanto Corporation, and currently head of the US Food and Drugs Administration? Is that science? We shall be dealing separately with those points.
HALAL GM FOODS, EMOTIONS, AND LABELLING...
What I want to focus on here are with his interactions with Blakk Rasta. After being told that vegetarians or people objecting to the introduction of genes of fish or meat into rice, are only being emotional because “you can't see the fish”, our host asked him:
BLAKK RASTA: Are you a Moslem, Prof, if I may ask?
PROF. ALHASSAN: Yes, I am.
BLAKK RASTA: If you are a Moslem, and you hear that a pig's genes have been used to produce some rice, would you eat that kind of rice?
PROF. ALHASSAN: Again, you see, it is discretionary. But first, if the source is halal for you, then you can eat it eat. But for me, as a Moslem, the pig is not halal, so if you move the gene from a pig to rice, and you give it to me, you make the ethical reason why I would not eat it. But that does not mean that somebody else would not eat it.
BLAKK RASTA: But Prof, “the pig is not existent in the rice any more”, is that not what you said?
PROF. ALHASSAN: You won't see it. The integrity of the fish, you won't see it. And so really, it is for the [INAUDIBLE] to determine. You can move insulin, which is injected into the body, you can move it into a bacteria, and then inject the bacteria back into the body. No one sees anything wrong with it.
It was amazing to hear Professor Alhassan admitting to not wanting to eat a GMO rice based on some specific ingredients. The giant corporations he appears to be representing are frontally opposed to any form of labelling of GM foods. So, why should any one approve of such a thing on behalf of fellow human beings without their consent or even consultation?
Professor Alhassan would certainly not be the only advocate of GM foods who would not eat GM food. There are reports that scientists working for Monsanto refused to drink the milk that they themselves have helped to invent. As Jeffrey M. Smith puts it, "former Monsanto scientist said that after company scientists conducted safety studies on bovine growth hormone, all three refused to drink any more milk, unless it was organic and therefore not treated with the drug. They feared the substantial increase of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the drugged milk. IGF-1 is a significant risk factor for cancer." - Monsanto: The world's poster child for corporate manipulation and deceit, Friday, July 30, 2010. http://www.naturalnews.com/029325_Monsanto_deception.html.
a story doing the rounds again, about how Monsanto, one of the world's largest profiteers of genetically engineered (GE) food, banned GE food from its own corporate canteens!
Monsanto had its pants pulled down by Friends of the Earth in 1999, who revealed that the company was refusing to serve to its own staff the very same GE food that it incessantly foists upon impoverished nations on the premise that it will save populations from starvation. Although it has never been proved, Monsanto constantly claims that GE food is harmless – so why wasn't it serving it in its own office?
In one canteen, run by external provider, Sutcliffe Catering, a notice read that a decision has been taken to remove, as far as practicable, GE soya and maize from all food products served in the canteen. “We have taken the above steps to ensure that you, the customer, can feel confident in the food we serve", the provider said.
“We believe in choice”, said Monsanto, while the company actually made sure that by not serving GE food in its canteens they did not give staff the opportunity to 'choose' whether or not to eat GE food as they de facto ensure that the staff did not get to eat GE food. Yet the same choice isn't available to farmers around the world, who most of the time have no choice but to plant GE crops, thanks to a seed market that is often dominated by Monsanto.” See: Eat it up Monsanto! | Greenpeace International http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/eat-it-up-monsanto/blog/39002/
Fellow Ghanaians, what we are seeing is an attempt to impose GM foods on us without our consent. They are counting on our ignorance and unwillingness to resist. We either prove them wrong or we are damned!
For Food Sovereignty Ghana, and,
For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!
Ras Aswad Nkrabea,
Director of Mobilization, FSG