A debate has raged around the potential risks and benefits of genetically modified (GM) foods for the last 20 years.
Friends of the Earth says that although food from 12 GM crops has been approved for sale in the EU, most UK supermarkets and food manufacturers have removed GM ingredients from their produce.
The arguments for GM
Most existing genetically modified crops have been developed to improve yield through resistance to plant pests or increased tolerance to herbicides.
Professor Jonathan Jones, a senior scientist at The Sainsbury Laboratory and an expert on how plants resist disease, was featured on the Panorama program.
“Producing enough food is hard, and currently there’s a lot of control of disease and pests by spraying agrochemicals,” he said.
“GM opponents have this idealistic notion that we can have a perfect, utterly clean way of doing things, but this idealism isn’t helpful because farming is a very pragmatic business. You’ve got to control weeds, so you need herbicides, and there are a lot of objections to them, but the question is, what’s the least bad way to do it?
“Anything that gets regulatory approval is completely safe, or at least as safe as its non-GM counterpart.”
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