The GMO timebomb: time for homework
Lynda Brown - 02 July 2012
I've been holed up in bed watching the rain and fighting off a bug. Now, I wouldn't actually choose GMOs as a bedfellow (to tell the truth, I'm bored with having to hear the same old arguments ) but when it makes Radio 3 morning news, then you know it's serious.
The biotech industry is hungry, wants blood and has obviously decided on an all out push to persuade government (PS no point in persuading consumers– been there and failed, damn them) that if we don't accept GM, Britain will become a scientific "museum" piece.
The vision this time is not to feed the world – that ploy didn't work either, but the promise of Britain becoming a world leader in GM research and crop science all wrapped up in a choc bar wrapper called Going For Growth, a new report published by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council.
Britain once more Great. How can we resist? But before before you get out your flags again, check out the other new GM report“GMO Myths and Truths, an evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of genetically modified crops”.
Written by two scientists who actually use Genetic Engineering, Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London School of Medicine and Dr John Fagan, together with Claire Robinson, research director of Earth Open Source, at 120 pages long (a shorter version is on its way!) it's not exactly bite- sized but then GMO's are pretty difficult to swallow.
The summary page gives you the sobering gist of what they've found but for anyone concerned about GM and fed up of being called luddite/emotional/irrational/dumb etc, but feels powerless against the new breed scientific geeks who pour scorn over any opinion that isn't "evidence based", it's essential reading.
"Sobering' does it for me. In the same week as these reports were published comes the timely news that clever old bollworm which BT cotton is resistant to has, would you believe, irrationally migrated to non Bt plants such as tomatoes, pigeon pea, chickpa, sorghum wheat and maize. Bet the geeks didn't see that one coming. Sort of takes the shine off feeding the world doesn't it? Meanwhile, judging by its latest shares and sales figures, it seems GM mammoth, Monsanto has never had it so good.
Am I the only dumbo in the world who thinks that becoming a world leader in a science that doesn't, and can never, work, let alone enabling the biotech industry to become omnipotent is a dumb idea?
Lynda is an award-winning food writer and broadcaster, and keen advocate for organic living. She is author of several food books over the last twenty years including Planet Organic: Organic Living, The Cook's Garden, and The Modern Cook's Handbook, as well as writing The Preserving Book that was published in 2010 in association with the Soil Association. Lynda is an expert on food and nutrition and a seasoned broadcaster, regularly speaking on food and farming both on the radio and television.