Genetically modified crops are now grown on about one-tenth of the world’s cropland, and none of the disastrous consequences that we Greens feared have come to pass. There is no reliable scientific evidence that GM foods cause illness, despite the fact that they receive much more intense scrutiny than more “natural” foods. (Natural foods can also pose health risks, as was shown recently by studies establishing that a popular type of cinnamon can cause liver damage.)
Although cross-pollination between GM crops and wild plants can occur, so far no new superweeds have emerged. We should be pleased about that – and perhaps the regulations that were introduced in response to the concerns expressed by environmental organizations played a role in that outcome.
Regulations to protect the environment and the health of consumers should be maintained. Caution is reasonable. What needs to be rethought, however, is blanket opposition to the very idea of GMOs.
Kim Hill will be hosting this year’s EnviroTown debate at Lincoln University; they’ll be talking GMOs. Hopefully we’ll start getting a bit of sanity into the discussions.