Well, hello world! – Welcome to my blog, and my first post.
So, what should I focus my first post on? Should it be around my love of seafood and smelly cheeses, perhaps my passion for helping Britain to eat healthily, or the fact that I went to pick my own strawberries in Wiltshire this weekend or maybe, I should just start with a delicious recipe?
Then I thought perhaps I should write about something that is in the news at the moment, and I feel that the great debate around GM foods is both a pertinent one and a subject that is crucial to the future of the food industry. As it is such a vast subject matter, can I really give it the due diligence it deserves in my first post? No, but I can certainly look into it.
So what do we think? Will agricultural biotechnology save us from starvation or will it end in a global disaster, as Prince Charles is suggesting? Maybe we have played around enough with nature, and if we continue, it will just come back to bite us!
Firstly, it seems to me there are huge benefits of being able to genetically modify foods, but also serious pitfalls. Secondly, it appears there are three principle issues to look at: what effect GM foods will have on human health; how will it impact the environment; and whether the benefits far outweigh the risks to society?
Whilst I am no specialist on the subject, I don’t believe we have the definitive answers to any of these issues, so until we have this insight – can we go any further? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits the GM companies promise us.
They are considered to be more convenient to grow, pest resistant, ripen quicker, less affected by adverse weather conditions. We will be able to develop foods containing cures to diseases, vitamin supplements, coffee with less caffeine etc etc – wow – this all sounds amazing – and on top of this, GM foods are slated to save the world’s food shortage! So, what’s everyone complaining about?
There are major costs involved with growing GM foods, meaning that many of Britain’s smaller farms must adopt new techniques, pay for training courses, spend more money on GM seeds than standard farming seeds. UK farmers are having a hard time as it is, will they be able to survive these costs before they witness the benefits of the improved productivity?
The most important issue though is – what happens if we toy with nature? If crops become pest resistant, will the pests mutate and develop into even more dangerous pests…do new drugs, mean new bugs? For the sake of redder tomatoes, is it really worth it?
Maybe I am sitting on the fence here by not spelling out a definitive point of view, but until we have proof that GM modification is safe, we should tread very slowly indeed…