People are being urged by Scotland’s new chief scientific adviser to embrace genetically modified (GM) food as an answer to poverty, hunger and toxic pollution.
Professor Anne Glover, herself a genetic engineer, is urging consumers to ignore labels like “Frankenstein foods” because they are misleading and damaging. The potential benefits of GM crops are “huge”, she says, and the risks “extremely small”.
But her enthusiasm for GM food has infuriated environmentalists, who fear she could exert an important influence on Scottish ministers. They argue GM crops are “potentially dangerous” and point out that they have been widely rejected by the public and supermarkets.
The Scottish Greens’ environment speaker, Mark Ruskell MSP, has proposed a bill to Holyrood to make GM companies strictly liable for any economic damage caused by contamination from GM crop trials and commercialisation.
I find it misleading to use hunger and poverty to support genetically modified foods, because there is already more than enough food to feed everyone in the world. The socioeconomic status quo causes hunger and poverty, not a lack of food.
Genetically modified food has benefits and drawbacks. Luckily, manufacturers can produce both, and individual consumers can individually decide which type of food they want. In a free-market, genetically modified food would probably sell for less than natural food. Customers can individually choose if they want to purchase and eat the cheaper GM food or the regularly priced regular food.
Regardless of whether they produce GM food or non-GM food, I want companies held liable to the rest of us for any damage they cause to our environment.
Nonetheless, GM food cannot solve hunger and poverty. Hungry and poor people do not need more food and resources in the market; Hungry and poor people need more money in their hands to purchase the foods and resources already at the market.
What do you think?