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Genetic Engineering of Food

This is currently out of the control of moderate people. It is running amok in the hands of 'big business', supported by politicians in the USA and the UK who lack judgement or integrity or both.

In the UK most people do not want to eat food that has been created artificially. Genetically modified food is already being sold but it is not always marked as such. Control of ingredients is not perfect and it may not always be known whether or not the ingredients of a product are biologically safe. Many people in the UK are worried that there are great and unknown dangers involved and they are mounting active campaigns to alert the public to the potential risks. I welcome that. The legal restraints on genetics work need to be increased, at least until the matters of risk or safety are better understood.

In any case, this genetic tampering with the food chain is simply not necessary. I suspect it would not be appropriate at any stage. There is not a genuine food crisis for the world and no good reason to suppose that there will be one. Different and more conventional remedies would be successful if food was in danger of becoming scarce.

An excuse is often made that the development of more 'efficient' crops would help to feed the third world. This is not proposed by the third world countries themselves and many are openly against the introduction of GM crops. India, for example, might not consider itself still 'third world'. Its government has announced the wish to stop GM experiments taking place there.

So who is the GM food for? Europe has food mountains, they produce too much. The answer is simple. This GM food is not for eating, it is for selling and only greed is behind it!

In England, Prince Charles is openly against the introduction of genetically modified food and his web site is hosting an on-line forum on the topic. (February 1999)

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Copyright John Peirson 1999