Call for GM Debate to be Reopened

Leading agricultural scientists are calling for another debate on genetic modification (GM), claiming that we will need ‘every tool in our armory if we are to cope with the food security issues raised by population growth, climate change and environmental degradation.’

The genetic modification of plants raises important issues for science and the public. There is legitimate concern about whether GM products safe to eat and release into the environment, but they also hold enormous potential to increase yields and food quality, whilst reducing the need for pesticides.

In 2003 the Government held a national debate on the commercialisation of genetically modified crops in the UK, before setting out its overall policy on the issue in March 2004.

However, many participants felt that the exchanges made in 2003 were marred by anger and personal grievances, which prevented the central issues from being discussed rationally and answered adequately.

With estimates that food production must double by 2050 to feed an anticipated population of 9 billion (FAO), it is imperative that government considers all options at its disposal to ensure food security and mitigate human poverty in the UK. Consequently, leading scientists have called for the debate to be reopened, so that the issues can be addressed with appropriate, evidence based discussions.

Listen to a Radio 4 broadcast on the issue here.

For more information about GM crops, including government policy, click here.