Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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More vaccines and fake meat to appease the biotech monster


SCIENCE Minister George Freeman has announced a record £52billion investment in public research and development over the next three years. That is £775 for every man, woman and child in Britain. So what are they spending your money on? You probably guessed it: the first grants under the scheme are being made to produce more biotech vaccines and industrial quantities of fake meat.

Freeman announced that traditional agriculture is inadequate to the task of feeding the world. Accordingly, the newly funded Cellular Agriculture Manufacturing Hub will spearhead the development of processes to produce key food groups such as proteins sustainably and cost-effectively to feed a growing global population.

The Hub will undertake ‘upstream engagement with a wide range of stakeholders including consumers, food producers and retailers to promote transformational food development’. Translation: very soon the government will be rewriting our dinner menus.

According to Professor Marianne Ellis of the University of Bath, who will benefit from the first funding award, ‘This would enable production of foodstuffs and the vast array of co-products that are the same as traditional products produced in a system similar to brewing.’ 

Bearing in mind that no specific processes have yet been developed or their products tasted, the claim of similarity with traditional food and the analogy with the brewing of beer stumbles at the first hurdle. In fact what is being proposed is biotechnology on an industrial scale using processes which are already known to be energy-hungry, risk-intensive and subject to genetic contamination.

In my book Your DNA Diet, I discuss research illustrating the value of natural food based on DNA to maintain our health. We have enjoyed a co-evolutionary relationship with these foods for millions of years. Genetically processed foods will not have this same relationship. Industrial production of such foods will also change the relationship of consumers with producers, placing food supply in the hands of giant corporations.

The second recipient of government research largesse will be the Future Vaccines Manufacturing Hub led by Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert at Oxford University and Professor Martina Micheletti at University College London. This group is a follow-on from the Oxford University-AstraZeneca collaboration which gave us a Covid vaccine that is no longer used around the world possibly because of the danger of adverse effects.

The Vaccine Hub intends ‘to make it possible to undertake mass programmes of non-invasive vaccination’. For your reference, non-invasive delivery systems currently under development include oral and nasal vaccines, and vaccines built into foods.

The Vaccine Hub will develop cellular-level technologies. As we have noted previously, the basis of life as we know it is the cell. Genetically altering cellular processes is inherently mutagenic and undermines the very basis of biostability and health.

The press release from UK Research and Innovation announcing these new grants is headlined: ‘Vaccine and food manufacturing hubs will save lives and cut carbon’. It makes ample use of phrases designed to sound reassuring such as ‘Food production revolutionised’, ’A hub for health and life’, and so on. The release also reassures us that Covid vaccines have been ‘game-changing’ – they certainly have, but not in the way originally intended. The current high level of excess deaths in the UK and elsewhere, disproportionately affecting those in receipt of Covid vaccines, tells its own story.

The hubs are each associated with a long list of private-sector partners from the biotechnology industry. To facilitate the commercialisation of biotech products, the UK government is loosening the regulations requiring the public to be informed about what they are eating. The Genetic Technology Act, which passed into law last Thursday, ‘removes plants and animals produced through precision breeding technologies from regulatory requirements applicable in England to the environmental release and marketing of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)’.

The key change here is merely semantic: genetic manipulation is now described as a ‘precise’ process and will thereby escape regulation and labelling. Watch Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London discuss the dangers of gene crop deregulation in the new Act.

New UK policies appear to be at least in part a response to the huge pressure exerted by scientists, academic institutions and biotech firms on the government to continue the massive level of funding they enjoyed during the pandemic. All this is being undertaken in the absence of any credible official evaluation of the impact, advisability, cost and safety of pandemic policies. It is of note that independent evaluations such as this paper are pointing to huge mistakes, which the new grants appear poised to repeat. A form of madness has gripped our politicians as they rush ahead without bothering to inform themselves of potential dire consequences.

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Guy Hatchard
Guy Hatchard
Guy Hatchard PhD is a former senior manager at Genetic ID, a global food testing and certification company. He lives in New Zealand.

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