Soybeans are one of the world's most genetically modified crops. Photo credit: Clearly Ambiguous via Flickr/Creative Commons
Food security is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the global food discussion, and for good reason -- it's a big challenge that's only going to continue to grow, and there's even a dedicated conference for it next week.
As the understanding of the problem grows, attitudes toward genetically modified crops -- perceived to be part of the solution to some -- are changing, and changing for the better, according to Dr. Harvey Glick. He's the director of research for Monsanto, the world's largest purveyor of genetically modified foods. Curious.
Like it or not, genetically engineered seeds are sneaking into a lot of foods, often via corn, which can be turned in to a huge variety of foods and food-like substances. Photo credit: Peter Blanchard via Flickr/Creative Commons
Dr. Glick believes that, "In the long run, GM technologies have to be part of the solution to the food security issue," but it's his job to believe that. Japan and Egypt would beg to differ, and the folks in Ireland probably wouldn't agree that even traditionally skeptical Europe is coming around.
While food security is an expansive, challenging problem (that's likely to get worse before it gets better) without a clear solution, it's a bit early to declare, "I think the solution will be to make use of as many beneficial technologies as you can, whether they be with biotech or agronomic advances or whatever," as Dr. Glick does.
Putting GMOs at the front of the food security debate is sort of like trotting out nuclear power as a solution to creating more electricity without contributing to climate change; in some respects, it looks okay in the short term, but long term viability is shaky at best, and we can just do way better.
So take what Monsanto says with a grain of salt. In the long term, truly sustainable food systems are the only thing that will solve the food security issue.
More on food security and GMOs
Can India Achieve Food Security?
The Fight Over the Future of Food: Monsanto, GMOs, and How to Feed the World
The Copenhagen Conference on Food Security
Grain Trader Calls Food Self Sufficiency Efforts "Nonsense"
Transition Town Plants Up Nut Trees for Food Security