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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Farm Leader Slams Europe on GM Food

NAPA, California -- Europe's reaction to genetically modified, or GM, foods has been irrational and no rules should be considered to restrict their use in upcoming farm trade talks set for the end of 1999, the head of the American Farm Bureau Federation said.

"The European concern seems to me to be somewhat irrational," Dean Kleckner, president of the federation, said Monday in an interview at the 16th annual Sugar Symposium here.

Proponents say if GM foods are drummed out of the market, it will be virtually impossible to feed the world's population if it grows in a few decades to 10 billion people.

"I don't think we're going to be able to handle that without using technology and the best technology today is GM," Kleckner said.

GM foods have proved controversial in Europe where it has been dubbed by British tabloids as "Frankenstein foods."

Several demonstration plots to test GM plants have been destroyed by environmental activists who claim such food may contaminate the environment and food supply.

The U.S. farm group chief doubts European suggestions of labeling GM foods will work out either because there would just be too many problems to be caused by such a procedure.

"Labeling may be an answer but you're going to argue a long time over what the label should say," Kleckner said.

Life sciences company Monsanto Co, which has taken the brunt of the protests over GM foods, would have probably done things differently in seeking approval for genetically engineered food and seed products.

Agricultural scientists who came up with the food and seed products "did not foresee the problem it turned out to be," Kleckner added.