Monday, 22 April 2013
GM: Yes Or No
Last week the PM's personal scientific adviser said he wants to relax rules on crops because the rise of GM foods is 'inexorable'.
Sir Mark Walport (pictured), says the food is proving its worth its worth and production is increasing globally. Sir Mark said it was his "job to advise on the science and it is then the politician's job to decide how to use that."
I'm sceptical about the safety of GM and part of that is a result of the secrecy surrounding the science. Politicians having secret meetings with GM lobby groups doesn't help my concern and political determination not to label food GM doesn't help their case either. What have they to hide by not ensuring out food is labelled GM and Halal?
Earlier this month four major supermarkets ended bans on farm suppliers giving GM feed to animals producing meat, milk and eggs. The vast majority of those foods sold in Britain will now come from animals raised on a GM diet.
Biotech firms such as Monsanto have ensured that 80% of the soya grown in the US and Brazil is GM and that is one of the reasons why British supermarkets have now been forced to allow GM-fed produce into the food chain.
The first GM meat and fish could also go on sale this summer. Authorities in the US are expected to grant approval to Aquabounty salmon, which has been modified to grow twice as fast as normal. For us shoppers who refuse to buy meat, milk and eggs from animals fed on GM, the only alternative may be to buy more expensive organic produce.
Trying to add more complex traits, like improved nutrition, seems to lead to lower yields and other problems. This is why none has been commercialised after 30 years of effort. GM crops are either resistant to weedkillers or they are designed to kill pests. In the US superweeds are rapidly developing so that even more toxic weedkillers have to be used and pests are becoming resistant to the pest-resistant crop.
The US anti-GM lobby appears to be far stronger than the one here in the UK. There's an interesting video on Dr Mercola's site which examines trends in both food and politics over the last 30 years in California.
These days I eat a simple diet most of the time and I'm sure I do eat genetically modified foods, but I would prefer to know the truth.
Of course there are always the converted. Strange story.