Genetically Modified Crops
- Ben says don't believe the spin!
I was talking to someone at DEFRA, and they happened to mention in passing:
'you know, we had a big presentation from the industry, and really,
GM crops will have to be allowed in if we're to feed everyone,
its the only way to solve the food crisis'
Now, this is complete and utter rubbish.
It is a line that has been put forward by the GM public relations people in the newspapers as well.
The reality is that these faceless corporations have sunk billions and billions of borrowed dollars developing these things, and whether they work or not, they are desperate to get some profit from them any way they can.
So they are lobbying the government to allow them to sell GM seed in the UK, using whatever the latest worry is. (Last year it was the need for higher vitamins in rice, then cheap drugs from corn, now the 'food crisis'. )
Once we plant GM crops there's no going back - the genes will escape into wild plants and other food crops.
We must all resist this cynical sales push.
Interestingly, Genetically modified crops are the agricultural equivalent of what has been going on with the banks.
The parallels are striking:
- developed to create a profitable 'new market' where none existed before
- massively hyped as a 'new way of doing things'
- hard to understand, even by the regulators
- so regulators accept industry assurances at face value
- and not investigated or tested for safety before use.
- potentially very dangerous to the public
- designed to be costly to large numbers of 'little people' worldwide
- designed to be profitable to just a handful of corporations in USA
- very difficult to contain once the effects get out of control (a "systemic" risk)
And this briefing to the government is simply not true.
Forgetting all the arguments about toxicity and genetic pollution for the moment, concentrate on this simple fact:
GM crops will have LOWER yields than natural plants.
Why GM Crops will have Lower Yields
It's pretty obvious, looking at this diagram:
Here's a plant , making food from sunlight, as it ought to. It sits there, soaking up sunlight all summer, making grain or corn or whatever.
Now take that plant, and put in a poison gene from a bacteria. It is locked 'on', so that every bit of the plant has to use some of its energy making a toxic compound.
You can see that you are putting the same energy in, but of course some of that is diverted into making the toxin. Leaving LESS food for us to eat.
So there you are. Don't believe it, GM crops won't solve any crisis - they just want our money.
And they don't care if they poison us & destroy the eco-system (all that toxin might not be so great, you know) in the process.
GM crops pose a huge risk to the food chain.
GM foods have not been safety-tested, and should be resisted at all costs.
note : Ben studied genetic engineering at the Department of Plant Sciences in Cambridge.
The security of the worlds food supply is at stake here,
at risk to the same sort of short-term, ignorant, greedy fools who wrecked the banking system.
Postscript: I wrote this in 2008. In 2009 a scientific study by the UCS looking at two dozen different crop trials came to the same conclusion - GM Seeds do not increase yields.