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Sustainable Food Guide
Environmental Practice at Work © 2005 Link:EP@W Ltd Web Site

'Food for Life'
Catering Mark

 GM Issues...

Genetically modified (GM) crops are those plants whose genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating or natural recombination. Genetic Modification (as it is called in Europe. In the US they prefer "Genetic Engineering") is a hot potato. People promoting GM technology believe it has the potential to answer a number of sustainability issues. These include drought and salt resistant strains. Those against GM food believe that, however well intentioned it may sound, there is the potential to create unpredicatable consequences. Look what can happen when you import a species to be useful only for it to end up a pest. This is the reason the "Precautionary Principle" was adopted by European Authorities and opposed by USA

John Innes Institute Making Sense of GM says: "Discussion about GM seems to have become a proxy for other much-needed discussions about food shortages, economic power of multinational corporations, food safety, farming systems and trade agreements, which go far beyond this technology and its applications."

GM & Sustaiinability

The issue of GM and sustainability is complex - there will not be two readers of this who agree on what we mean by sustainability, so how can we determine GM's role? Here is a checklist of the sorts of issued that need to be adressed. Consider the main issues:

There is no simple yes/no.

For more on what we think, see our presentation at "Are GM crops fit for purpose? Conference" and "Cheap is More" for what 'productivity' means.


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