Thursday, 15 July 2010

What is wrong with a GM potato?

It's been just a bit busy recently in Brussels ... and there are a back log of more complex questions I would like to ask the blogging community - but please tell me just what is wrong with the GM potato trial I saw near Norwich earlier this month....

A wild South American blight resistant mini potato has been crossed into a common supermarket "Desire".

1. Potato blight devastates crops - think back on Irish history

2. Farmers have to spray fields with chemicals up to 15 times a season to cope with potato blight.

3. Potatoes are grown from tubers i.e. from last season's potatoes ... not from seed. Bees are not interested in potato flowers so the risk of cross pollination to "traditional" crops is negligible.

4. This scientific trial is not funded by a large industrial oligopoly but, as far as I can see by scientists and philanthropists genuinely interested in how we meet the food needs of the world's growing population

5. This particular trial is not a fly by night experiment - its taken years of science to get to the planting trial stage - but still many more years before deciding if this is scientifically acceptable, let alone a marketable crop.

It is time that an intelligent crop-by-crop approach is taken to the issue of GM foods. Those with a longer history tell me that the EU has sat on the fence regarding individual GM crops for 15 years. This week the European Authorities slowing began to agree that decisions on individual crops should be taken by National Governments and not at an EU level.

So for the record I would eat this potato....