The British chef Jamie Oliver has long been a hero of the local and healthy food movements, but he drew the ire of many this past January when he announced his partnership with the heavily pro-GMO Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since then Jamie has released a statement saying that his decision was not about GMOs, but his millions of fans have still wondered where he stood on the issue.
While Jamie still has yet to reassure his fans in that regard, he did make headlines for speaking out against one of the largest pro-GMO trade agreements in history, meeting with British MP Vince Cable recently and posting his unabashed feelings about the possibility of inferior, chemicalized American food products flooding his home country.
Oliver Concerned About Inferior Food from America
“We have fought long and hard to get where we are today and I really don’t want feedlot beef with growth hormones, nor chickens washed with chlorine or food produced with banned pesticides and additives, to name but a few, and I certainly don’t want our farmers undermined,” Oliver said according to this article from the UK’s Daily Mail, via his Instagram page.
The TV star, chef and food activist met earlier this week with British Business Secretary Vince Cable to go over “massive concerns” about a new trade pact called the TTIP between the U.S. and Britain that could break down trade barriers and allow more American products including banned foods to flood the UK.
Among the foods banned in the UK include many made with GMOs, meat and milk from cows pumped with artificial hormones, foods containing banned pesticides and more. The TTIP would also allow U.S. companies to take governments in Britain and Europe to court if they believe their products are being unfairly denied (Monsanto is one company that would likely welcome this).
The TTIP, also known as the Transatlantic Trade Partnership, is considered the largest trade deal in history and many activists have expressed dismay over the lack of democracy surrounding it.
Cable reportedly said that Oliver’s fears were unfounded.
“Food is still on the negotiating table and that does mean technically anything can still happen,” he said. “I’m glad they are aware of my concerns, but we must keep watching this space very very carefully.’
But food activists like Oliver and watchdog groups are frustrated and don’t trust the governments, who seem eager to ram new trade agreements through without the people’s consent.
“This trade agreement is a Trojan horse that promises jobs but will threaten our food safety, environment and farmers. This would mean more GM foods, pollution and factory farms – and less choice for citizens. The only winners will be the corporations that push industrially produced foods,” said Adrian Bebb, senior Food Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe.
An online petition against the TTIP out of Europe already has over 1.5 million signees.