Published On: Sat, Oct 20th, 2012

Europe vs. Scientific Consensus on GM crops— The American Magazine

The American argues that the EU is wrong to reject genetically modified crops:

For more than 20 years, bucking a worldwide scientific consensus, the European Union EU has maintained literally nonsensical laws and regulations that focus not on the risk-related characteristics of new plant varieties but on the process — recombinant DNA technology — used to create them. The result is a dysfunctional regulatory system in which there is an inverse relationship between the degree of regulatory scrutiny and the perceived risk of the products. Recombinant DNA-modified plants are regulated into virtual oblivion while new plant varieties crafted with less precise, less predictable techniques are generally unregulated, whatever risk they might pose.

They might be right, GM crops might be safe for human consumption.  History Future Now, however, supports the EU’s anti GM food stance for reasons that have nothing to do with food safety.

The first issue is the the business model.

With non GM crops, part of the seed from a harvest can be set aside by farmers, to be processed and then replanted the following year.  The farmer retains control over his crop.

With GM crops, farmers are not allowed to do this.  What is worse, if GM crops have spread to the farmer’s land by mistake and it is discovered that the farmer is growing GM seed without a license, the farmer can be sued by the seed providers, such as Monsanto.

This is wrong.  Farmers are too important to our environment, our society and our economy to be reduced to nothing more than an inconvenient growing medium for an oligopoly of seed/fertiliser/pesticide/commodity companies.  Once they are in the GM system it is very hard for farmers to leave, which increases their dependence on these oligopolistic suppliers and buyers.

The second issue is the risk associated with monoculture.

Diseases love monocultures.  Once they evolve to attack a particular crop they can rapidly spread over vast areas, wiping out whole harvests.  If large parts of the world use similar GM crops you could expect global crop failures in the same year.  Sometimes it can take years to adapt ways of combating the new disease.

This problem is even worse than a business model issue – we could be hit with a global famine.

To read more click here: Europe vs. Scientific Consensus — The American Magazine.

History Future Now, ebook edition, is now available from the Apple iBookstore!  So if you have a iPad or iPhone click on this link to download it.  It is currently on at a special offer of 99c.   The Kindle version has been submitted to Amazon and should be available shortly.

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