GM Food Cuckoo in the nest

GM Food: Cuckoo in the nest

GM FoodGM FoodGM Food

I have just received the latest edition of the Soil Association magazine Living Earth.  One of the articles is by Peter Melchedtt, their Policy Director.   In it he comments on what the Environment Secretary: Owen Paterson said concerning GM Food, with particular emphasis on their safety:

He says: “Despite claims such as those made in June by the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, there is no scientific evidence that eating GM food is safe. Worldwide, there have only been around 30 scientific animal trials looking at the impacts of eating GM food, and half of those have raised concerns such as clear signs of toxicity affecting the liver and kidney, with ill effects on the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and blood cells. Since the introduction of GM food ingredients (mainly soya and maize) into US processed food. American rates of diet-related illnesses have soared – this proves nothing, but it is astonishing that no studies into human health have been done to investigate further. The truth is that while there is currently no evidence that eating GM food has caused human ill-heatth. equally there is no positive evidence that it is safe.”

He then asks:

GM Food: What if?

And says: What’s more, there are a number of other negative impacts of GM food that have emerged over the last 20 years. For example, anecdotal stories have persisted about negative impacts of GM feed on livestock, and now a detailed study, just published in scientific literature, has found that severe inflammation in stomachs is significantly higher in pigs fed on a GM diet.

Meanwhile, GM food crops modified to be resistant to a total weed-killer like glyphosate have rapidly encouraged the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds, and it is now being reported that insects are developing resistance too. This has led to increases in the use of herbicides and insecticides; overall pesticide use on GM crops in the USA is now higher than on non-GM, according to US government data.

Some seeds from GM crops will remain on fields after each harvest, but because GM seeds are patented and cannot be saved, to avoid being sued by a chemical company for unauthorised use the following year, farmers are locked into continuing to buy GM seeds, which have rapidly risen in cost.”

Those in the Africa and parts of Asia who those that say GM Foods is needed to feed such people will not be able to afford it which is likely to result in their farms being taken over by big firms and they loose their livelyhood.

He continues: “Despite these manifest problems the Soil Association is often asked, hypothetically, if all these problems were ‘dealt’ with through ‘research’, and if exciting developments like blight- resistant potatoes or nitrogen-fixing wheat were available, would we still oppose GM in principle? It’s a seductively simple question, one that reveals a touching belief in the problem-solving abilities of our scientists, but one that, like current GM crops, simply isn’t fit for purpose.
For despite all the talk, to ‘deal’ with all the existing problems we see GM creating will require a different technology to remove the inherent uncertainties of inserting foreign genes in a plant’s DNA, a complete overhaul of the regulatory system to include proper safety testing and social appraisal, and a liability regime that protects the interests of farmers and consumers alike. It will also need years of effort and millions of pounds in research, and even then no one can know whether the proposed benefits will materialise.

For despite claims to the contrary from the UK Government, there is no evidence that GM crops can help feed the world. The fact is GM has failed to deliver any of the benefits promised in the 1990s, like more nutrients and higher yields, and newer crop-breeding technologies are now delivering more benefits, more quickly. In the UK, public money spent on GM research has not led to a single hectare of a commercial GM crop in the UK, and not a single job in GM farming.

GM Food: 21st-century farming

In the 1990s, we were told all farming and food would be GM by 2000. Now pro-GM campaigners claim GM crops are simply ‘one tool in the tool box’. But GM crops are the cuckoo in the nest – bloated, sucking resources from and ultimately destroying other farming systems. GM crops have locked farmers further into depending on costly inputs from a handful of powerful chemical companies, and have been sold on false promises. GM food is a 20th-century technology wholly unfit for the challenges of the 21st century. These challenges are producing good yields of crops with lower inputs of fossil-fuel-based and mined fertilisers, with 80% lower greenhouse- gas emissions, and producing food with higher animal welfare, lower pollution and more wildlife and more jobs on farms. Which system does that sound like to you?”

This post has looked at if GM Food is safe, you might like to visit another post I have done on GM Foods:


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