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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

The trouble with GM – response to feature in The Grocer

Comment (20 Oct 2015)

On 10 October, The Grocer published (behind a paywall) a feature The trouble with GM. We responded with the letter below.

James Halliwell bravely entered the lion’s den to summarise some of the key points in the super-heated debate about genetically modified foods (The trouble with GM, 10 October 2015) but his conclusion should worry anyone who cares about how their food is produced.

The process of engineering DNA in the lab carries a unique set of risks and it is hard to have faith in a regulatory regime that relies on evidence provided by the applicant. However, safety is far from the only reason that consumers reject GM at the tills.

GM crops are associated with some of the most environmentally damaging farming practices in the world. They are patented, which shifts control from farmers to vast agrochemical corporations. They have been proven to reduce biodiversity. The weeds are fighting back and, in parts of the USA, are now as resistant to glyphosate as the GM crops themselves.

GM’s prominence in the UK animal feed market demonstrates the power of keeping consumers in the dark as the use of GM feed does not appear on the label of the food it goes to produce. But switch on the lights and it becomes clear that GM is adding to, rather than solving, complex agricultural problems.

Everyone deserves food that is produced responsibly fairly and sustainably but we’re never going to get it if we accept Halliwell’s conclusion that GM is here to stay.

Liz O’Neill
Director, GM Freeze