By Luis E. Sabini Fernández
The opinions of some three hundred pediatricians and nutritionists established that the ingestion of soy was not advisable for children and absolutely disposable for children under two years of age, due to the abundance of estrogens that in very young organisms can alter endocrine systems
In September, the Argentine Society of Pediatrics hosted two experts in child nutrition, James Anderson and Ekhard Ziegler, Americans (although presented as "international") who denied -without expressly stating- the conclusions reached by the "National Food and Nutrition Plan. Nutrition "convened in mid-2002 by the Duhalde government and chaired by his spouse, when the crisis of December 2001 was still fresh, hunger as well and a series of organizations from the soybean complex had flooded the country with the plan" Soja solidaria ".
The opinions of some three hundred pediatricians and nutritionists established that milk should not be designated to the juice extracted by cooking soybeans due to lack of calcium, that the ingestion of soybeans was not advisable for children and absolutely disposable for children under two years of age, due to the abundance of estrogens that in very young organisms can alter endocrine systems and, more generally because the food deficits now present in the country are not "fixed" with soy but with known, "traditional" foods.
The visiting specialists, in turn, presented research results that not only allow but advise the presence of soy in infant food and particularly in that of babies, due to the "excellent nutritional properties" of soy.
What do the inhabitants of the country have to do? Accept schizophrenia? Because to "titles", nobody seems to give the right to anyone. So much so, that Clarín Rural chronicled the presentation of the North American doctors with the slogan "Beans for adults and children" (9/6/03).
There are two key elements to "understand" the apparent pandemonium, which is not such.
1. The hurried North American representatives, who said goodbye, almost without answering questions because they literally missed the plane, were contacted and sponsored by an organization whose name did not appear in "the credits", at least directly: they come from the universities of Kentucky and Iowa respectively, they are sponsored by the Fundación Bioquímica Argentina, hosted by the SA de Pediatría but the true axis of this appearance was Monsanto.
The consortium that bears that name must suffer outbursts of modesty to prefer to wear various labels on its fronts of action. In this case, the host was the International Life Sciences Institute, which with the same name, without even translating it, has an office in Argentina. And the Life Sciences Institute is a PR body of Monsanto.
With this, the treatment of soy is no longer done from objective research, but from a specific extra-scientific purpose, be it philanthropic (consolidating "solidarity soy"), geopolitical or business.
2. Anderson and Ziegler's rush may not have allowed them to observe the framework in which they presented their advice elaborated throughout an activity we suppose to be in the USA: they insisted over and over again that soy is perfectly compatible with other foods; which is highly recommended along with other foods. That "used within a balanced diet, as varied as possible" is absolutely recommended with its improvements in cholesterol, and so on.
But to improve cholesterol you have to eat it first. In meat, for example. And the problem in Argentina, with hunger, is that people do not eat, or do not eat enough. And that "solidarity soy" has been presented as a substitute for other foods and not as a supplement.
A false opposition has been generated. Ziegler and Anderson have knocked on open doors.
A master move. Because these professionals come with a message, perhaps valid in the United States, absolutely inappropriate in Argentina, and through a media sleight of hand, they appear here endorsing Creole sojitis with a foreign reality.
Luis E. Sabini Fernandez
Journalist, Futuros editor, coordinator of the Ecology and Human Rights seminar of the Human Rights Chair of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UBA.