Even if Genetic ID’s claim is true, scientists say the scary rhetoric over the Cry9C form of the Bt toxin protein being found in Taco Bell’s taco shells is ridiculous. New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) John D. Kemp, an expert in the class of genes in question, says the protein shouldn’t be in the food chain, but adds, “I also think this whole thing is a bunch of hype coming from environmental organizations looking for some reason to protest biotechnology.” (“Researchers say consumers shouldn’t be too concerned,” Associated Press, 9/19/00)
“Nobody’s going to get sick. Eat your tacos and don’t be concerned,” says Steve Taylor, a food scientist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Champa Sengupta-Gopalan, an NMSU professor in agronomy and horticulture, says, “I think people who are afraid or concerned don’t really understand these proteins. Because these proteins really do protect our environment.” (“Researchers say consumers shouldn’t be too concerned,” Associated Press, 9/19/00)
The last word on the subject goes to Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), who was questioned by Bill Press last night on CNN’s Crossfire. Here is their exchange:
PRESS: If that product is killing that corn borer, how do I know what it’s doing inside of me? We’re mixing things, it seems to me, that have never been mixed together before.
BOND: That’s absolutely naive…
PRESS: So you’re saying trust the government…
BOND: That is the most naive thing I’ve ever heard, because the corn you eat today has BT, bacillus thuringiensis, which is a natural soil-borne insecticide that is used in all kinds of plants, and that is on plants all — all over the country… .”