Monday, 29 April 2013
Recently I had a post about GM food and the reluctance of the EU to allow consumers to make informed choices by labelling foods if they are GM.
In the US companies are seeking government approval to 'grow' controversial salmon. This will be the first ever genetically engineered animal intended for human consumption. The fish has been modified to grow twice as fast as normal salmon and is produced by inserting a growth hormone gene and another gene taken from the eel-like ocean pout. The salmon would be sterile and raised in vast tanks on land rather than in sea cages. Experts, trying to combat world hunger, are calling on the British government to back the use of GM farm animals on the dinner table here.
The push into GM meat could see the production of hens that have only female chicks and cattle made disease resistant using genes from baboons.Scientists at the Roslin Institute - where Dolly the sheep was cloned - insist fears surrounding 'Frankenstein' foods can be overcome and want the Government to support the spread of GM into farm animals.
I'm in agreement with Dr Helen Wallace of GeneWatch, who warned "GM fish escapes could pose a serious threat to wild salmon populations". She also stated that "An EU move to allow the use of GM animals and insects modified to help destroy crop pests amounts to engineering whole ecosystems and no one knows the consequences of this."
Closer to home the new EU seed law is causing concern. It proposes to ban old and rare varieties farmers varieties of traditional seeds. That may not be of immediate interest to many, but think about the consequences. Seeds have been exchanged amongst the farming communities for generations and now the EU want every seed to be tested to see if they meet various criteria. The criteria have been designed around modern hybrid varieties suitable for industrial agriculture and in general only industrial hybrid seed will pass the tests. Many of the valuable old varieties, currently in use by millions of home gardeners and small farmers, will be unregisterable and therefore outlawed.
So the introduction of GE fish and now the proposal to wipe out valuable old seed varieties, will give more control of what we eat to the 'big boys'. The seed industry is big business and it seems they will succeed is wiping out their much smaller competitor. That's globalisation.