In relation to our fantastic THTV episode this week on organic farming we were interested to see this article in the Observer at the weekend about how to keep our food GM free. Lucy Siegle is concerned, along with many others, that despite consumers’ demonstrative resistance to GM food, we still might not be able to stop governments and big industrial agriculture corporations, like Monsanto, monopolising farmers and the food market. ‘UK consumers rejected GM produce so vociferously that only an insane retailer would bother stocking Flavr Savr tomatoes (in which the rotting gene had been removed). However, there's no room for complacency. Last year, on the back of 'scientific advice', the government backed an EU proposal to overturn bans of GM crops in five EU countries.’TreeHugger has already investigated the complex issue of what the prospect of GM crops mean for the environment. People seem to disagree on the exact reasons why GM is bad for the balance of ecological systems, just look at the comments on Mike’s post, but the general concensus is that it is bad. Siegle writes: ‘Last year marked the planting of the billionth acre of GM crops as 8.5m farmers in 21 countries now farm transgenic (GM) crops. This growth is despite the fact that, contrary to assertions from the biotech industry, there is still no proof that GM crops are the same as non-GM crops, nor conclusive evidence that GM has no adverse affect on health. And there's the very thorny issue of cross-pollination of non-GM crops, especially of organic crops. A University of Chicago study found one transgenic plant was 20 times more likely to interbreed with related plants than its natural counterpart.’
For those who want a clear understanding on the possible effects of GM crops you can watch Deborah Koons Garcia’s film The Future Of Food and consult the Worldwatch Institute. As countries are on the brink of making huge decisions about whether to go towards GM farming it is vital that we understand what the repercussions might be. ‘Brazil, a major producer with capacity to meet growing demand, is currently deciding whether to stay predominantly GM-free or to follow the transgenic route like Argentina. Meanwhile, the US, Canada and Argentina have won a case against Europe through the World Trade Organisation, potentially forcing Europe to open its markets fully to GM produce.’
Siegle tells us that Friends of the Earth are encouraging people to keep up the show of consumer power by boycotting GM products. ‘It's time for UK consumers to lobby retailers to support non-GM Brazilian soy. That way, you can express anti-GM sentiments, and without the white boiler suit.’ To find out more visit Friends of the Earth's Real Food campaign. To read the full observer article by Lucy Siegle click here.
Via: Observer. GM Spaghetti photo courtesy of Tom Luddington/Friends of the Earth.