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Sustainable Food
Trade Union Perspective on GM
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Any trade union tutor/organiser emphasises the role of the “Status Quo Ante”. clause in an having a Status Quo clause– meaning that management could not bring in changes unless they had properly consulted/agreed with the union.

When GM was introduced (in a phenomenally aggressive fashion by Monsanto), Europe, along with many concerned individuals adopted a position called the Precautionary Principle – that we did not have to wait for the science if there were serious threats. And there were in terms of the potential to go wrong and its effects on the environment. This was in effect the Status Quo Ante.

Some 10 years have gone by with much work and trials. A trade union representative would carry out an Safety, Heath & Enviornment Risk Assessment. They would find there is no evidence of any health ill effects, nor damage to the environment - despite over 100 million hectares being grown with GM crops and their food consumed.

1) Safety side:….nowhere near as bad as pesticides. There is a tendency to consider GM like pesticides (eg GM quoted in terms of percentage concentrations in traditional food). But GM is not a poison like all pesticides are. Pesticides keep going through food chains to land air water and people. GM does not. GM is destroyed as soon as you or a cow eats it. GM is composted and eaten by earthworms or oribatid mites (spot the soil zoologist..). The run iof amino bases, called a gene, is broken down completely. Pesticide may cause death of 70,000 according to WHO. GM = zero.

2) Health: When all the GM food is banned from supermarkets it leaves all the salty sugary refined carbohydrate crap on the shelves – ultimately responsible for 70,000 early death in UK. GM = zero.

3) Environment: Other agric technologies are a lot more damaging – eg fertilisers contribute over 1/3 of all agric Greenhouse Gases (Stern Report). In UK fertilisers are producing 2-3 X GHGs as all aviation put together.

There are lots of “what if’s buts and maybe’s – but virtually no substantiated harm

Now is the time to negotiate what improvements we would like GM to make...