Copyright 1994 Greater Washington Educational
Telecommunications Association Washington, D.C.
Journal Graphics Transcripts
SHOW: The David Frost Special (PBS 9:00 pm ET)
October 21, 1994
Transcript # 38
RALPH NADER ON GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD
David Frost: Genetic engineering - that phrase brings a chill to me whenever I hear it.
But why does it bring a chill to you?
Ralph Nader: Because it's got to be more than 99% safe and we just don't know that much about the flora and
the fauna and cellular structure. And when we're starting to bioengineer watermelons in order to make them
smaller and more convenient to carry, when we bioengineer fruits and vegetables for shelf life maintenance for
the benefit of the sellers and the processes rather than the consumers, do we really know all that's known about
how it affects the free radicals, how it affects the nutritional, how it affects the vulnerability to disease on the part
of these new bio-engineered systems. And so you're entitled to ask, "Well, who is overseeing this?" Nobody.
There are no regulations, just voluntary guidelines at the National Institute of Health, and a look-see once in a
while by the Environmental Protection Agency. It's one of the clearest indications of scientific progress narrowly
defined encased in scientific hubris broadly camouflaged.
David Frost: In which the human being goes blindly ahead with
things he does not yet fully know are safe, is it?
Ralph Nader: Yes and first commercializations are for corporate benefit. I mean for example, or for the benefit
of the sellers. For example, getting more milk out of a cow. We have a milk surplus such that we have to have
taxpayers prop up the price. Why do we need more milk? So that we have even more taxes to prop up the price of
milk. This is not where someone would have guessed modern bioengineering would have made its first
David Frost: Now we said food, progress in food we said, but not
all food, yes?
Ralph Nader: Yes. I mean, progress in labeling of food?