Europe grows more (and more) GM crops
As study shows organic health benefits
Just days after the European Commission gave its stamp of approval to four new GM plants, a report has revealed that the area of Europe's arable land devoted to genetically modified crops has risen by 77 per cent in the last year. The total area of GM cultivation is now 1,000 square kilometres*.
The only widely planted GM crop, a pest-resistant strain of maize, has been grown in Spain, France, Germany, and the Czech Republic. The acreage given over to the crop in France has tripled in the last year, the BBC reports.
The maize has been genetically modified to be resistant to the corn borer, a moth larvae that eats the stem. The corn borer is not found in the UK.
The news comes as a four year study by boffins at Newcastle University has shown that organic produce, although variable, has higher levels of nutrients such as antioxidants, and lower levels of fatty acids.
The research has promoted calls from organic standards body the Soil Association for the government's Food Standards Agency to shift its official position on organic food. The FSA says the current balance of science on the subject still shows no real benefit in eating organic, but says the subject is under review. It will publish its findings next year. ®
*4.8 centiWales. Pedants.
What the problem with GM?
All living things mutate from time to time, heck the flu virus changes so much that a new jab is needed each year.
So what if we tinker a bit with the crops? Fewer pesticides is a Very Good thing. And is not crossing different strains of plant the same as GM...there goes all your funny coloured roses then...
Personally I don't have a problem with GM.
GM and organics
It really depends on what you or I mean by 'organic'. Personally, I do not see what is so 'natural' about an ox pulling a heavy stick through the soil to make a seedbed into which one might plant (or scatter) a load of seeds from an single plant species. There is little biodiversity in this and yet it is considered to be entirely organic by many people. lets try to grow stuff as intensively as possible on as small an area as possible and leave the rest to nature.
Do the organic advocates really think that any crops grown today, organically or otherwise, are in any way natural? They are the result of thousands of generations of selective and cross breading experimentation, and are vastly different to the original wild varieties - far more so than some of the very modest changes made in the labs which are classified as GM.