GM food solutions at risk from lobbyists, research suggests

Sep 24, 2011

Powerful lobby groups opposed to genetically modified (GM) food are threatening public acceptance of the technology in Europe, research suggests.

They are also hampering Europe's response to the global challenge of securing food supplies for current and , researchers claim.

Drawing upon a decade of evidence, researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Warwick University say that Europe's regulation of has become less democratic and less evidence-based since the 1980s.

Anti-GM groups such as organic food lobbyists and environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) dominate the decision making process, they claim, resulting in greater restriction of plant biotechnology research and development in Europe compared with most other parts of the world.

Some developing countries resist GM crops, even though they might benefit from the reduced and increased yields of GM technology, because they would not be able to sell their produce in Europe, the researchers found.

Professor Joyce Tait of the University of Edinburgh's ESRC Innogen Centre, who took part in the research, said: "At a time when an increasing number of people are living in hunger and climate change threatens crops, the system that regulates GM food sources ought to become more based on evidence and less subject to the influence of politically motivated NGOs."

The findings, published in , were funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Explore further: Organic apple orchards benefit from green compost applications

Provided by University of Edinburgh

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dogbert
2.2 / 5 (23) Sep 24, 2011
Good news. Europe has traditionally been more resistant to GM crops than America. Hope they remain that way.

When our GM crops fail, it will be the countries which rejected them which will have the seeds and systems to restore sane practices.
RustyMustard
2.5 / 5 (11) Sep 24, 2011
Good! That's the best news I've heard in a while!
kaasinees
2.7 / 5 (13) Sep 24, 2011
I am also against GM, it sounds to risk for me, unless it is controlled and not for food consumption i am fine with it.
mekraab
3.2 / 5 (11) Sep 24, 2011
We've been eating GM food in America for 30 years and have had zero medical cases resulting from it. This is the country where obese people sue McDonalds for making them fat, believe me if GM foods were dangerous there would have been a lawsuit by now.

If you really think we can sustain a population of 7 billion and counting with organic farming then there's something wrong with your brain.
mekraab
3.2 / 5 (13) Sep 24, 2011
You know we've been genetically modifying our crops and livestock for thousands of years through selective breeding, gene splicing is just the newest most effective method, we've just let bad sci-fi make genetic engineering a scary word and now even though people have been consuming these products for decades with zero adverse effects people want them banned.
dogbert
1.9 / 5 (22) Sep 24, 2011
You know we've been genetically modifying our crops and livestock for thousands of years through selective breeding, gene splicing is just the newest most effective method


No, there is a fundamental difference between selective breeding and direct genetic manipulation.

vdoomer
3 / 5 (10) Sep 24, 2011
dogbert:
When our GM crops fail

wtf does that even mean? Do you have any idea what genetically modified food is? It's not mutated vegetables or fruits that give out radiation. We already genetically modify our foods and have been doing it for millennia; in fact, every thing anyone has ever eaten has been genetically modified, it just took decades or centuries to do it. Now, scientists are able to do that same process within months and in safer ways where they can actually control the changes in the food, rather than just blindly trusting nature thinking it will work in our favor.

it will be the countries which rejected them which will have the seeds and systems to restore sane practices.

Oh, so you were completely retarded all along. So what do you propose we do when in 20 years our population is reaching 9 billion, global warming has brought increased droughts, land available for farming is decreasing, the cost of grain is more than oil, etc.,etc.?
kaasinees
2.9 / 5 (10) Sep 24, 2011
If you really think we can sustain a population of 7 billion and counting with organic farming then there's something wrong with your brain.

Something is wrong with your brain, pretty obviously. You are making false assumptions. Nobody claimed that we can continue to feed the world in the way we are now, GM doesnt change much at all. In fact organic production has proved to be nearly efficient as GM production, you just need the know-how. In the same matter that texan forest fires could have been prevented by australian firesticking techniques from thousands of years ago, but nobody is doing it.

We need a new form of agriculture and it is not GM and i would not explain it here. And for once there is something dogbert and I agree upon GM is not the same as gene manipulation through domestication.
vdoomer
2 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2011
Kaasinees, please define for me what you believe "organic production" is and what the necessary "know-how" would be.

texan forest fires could have been prevented by australian firesticking techniques from thousands of years ago


Oh gee, I wonder why the government didn't think of that when the forest fires were killing their crops and destroying their homes...
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (20) Sep 24, 2011
vdoomer,
Oh, so you were completely retarded all along. So what do you propose we do when in 20 years our population is reaching 9 billion, global warming has brought increased droughts, land available for farming is decreasing, the cost of grain is more than oil, etc.,etc.?


Well, on the issue of population control, we could stop having so many human beings.

On the issue of global warming, the jury is still out. If there is really global warming, we may expect vast areas of the north which are currently too cold to farm to be open to farming.

On your presumption that grain will cost more than oil, don't know why you think so, but as long as we use food to substitute for oil, the cost of grain will rise. We could stop using food for oil.

kaasinees
2.6 / 5 (7) Sep 24, 2011
Kaasinees, please define for me what you believe "organic production" is and what the necessary "know-how" would be.

http://en.wikiped...nic_food

Oh gee, I wonder why the government didn't think of that when the forest fires were killing their crops and destroying their homes...

What? Oh you are an idiot nevermind.
antialias_physorg
3.4 / 5 (7) Sep 24, 2011
You know we've been genetically modifying our crops and livestock for thousands of years through selective breeding,

I used to argue this way, too. But there is a slight difference with GM food:

Breeding and 'forced' selection are on a much longer timescale and only select for one trait at a time. If that trait has any impact on the environment then the environment in turn has time to adapt.

Think about a plant mutating/being bred to create herbicide X.
Insects have time to adapt. But GM a food to produce herbicide X, Y, and Z and any adaptation to X, Y OR Z will fail as the bug will be killed off by the other two.

Now this may look what we want - but this also goes for beneficial insects (bees? bumblebees? humans - long term?). All our experience with biospheres tell us: We are no way near adept at bioengineering on a small scale - why would we be more adapt at a large scale?

The benefit/risk scenarios are just way over our heads with GM food.
deatopmg
2 / 5 (8) Sep 24, 2011
Let the Luddites starve! The positives far far far out weigh the negatives.
Caliban
4.7 / 5 (6) Sep 24, 2011
And, I see that a couple of commentors here(appropriately scored as to their comment's merits) completely ignore(I won't speculate as to why) the broader risks/costs that are already evident as a part of the deployment of GMOs.

First among these is the loss of genetic diversity in food crops, a trend both pushed and pulled by Monsanto for instance, with their insistence upon monoculture, prosecution for instances of accidental cross-pollination, and pursuit and prosecution of persons who plant their seeds without a license/end user agreement from Monsanto. I refer to Monsanto here because they are the preemminent members of the GMO community, but don't forget Cardinal Swift, Archer Daniels Midland, and some few lesser US players, and their EU counterparts, Bayer being chief among them, and all of the research they fund at the university level and in private and/or government-funded facilities.

Cont

deatopmg
2 / 5 (8) Sep 24, 2011
Let the Luddites starve! The positives of GM foods for society and the environment far far far out weigh the negatives, in spite of companies like Monsanto making a killing. That is how humanity has advanced from hunter gathers to the present day.

In the sixties the doomsters Paul and Ann Ehrlich et al predicted that mass starvations in the 10's of millions were just around the corner. They were hailed as heros and profits by the educated youth lacking an iota of wisdom, myself included. (not unlike the climatologists of today) The Green revolution ensured that never happened. THe GM revolution, like it or not, will ensure that we all have sufficient foods to eat for generations to come.
Caliban
4.5 / 5 (6) Sep 24, 2011
Contd

This doesn't include the outright falsity of their claims in regards to many of the GMOs "superior" qualities, the increase of environmental levels of their "roundup ready" toxins, or the likelihood of pandemic outbreak of some type of resistant pest organism that would then decimate the deeply leveraged, branded, monoculture food supplies that GMOs are a bald attempt to establish in the global agriculture market(read: MONOPOLY) -but not to worry- only the underclass that rely on the cheapest of mass-produced food will have to rely upon those supplies, so what does it matter if millions upon millions starve? They- and the dollars the represent- will be quickly replaced.

Of course those with sufficient -much less obscene- wealth, will still be eating the best, freshest, cleanest, most organic and naturally produced, foods of the best flavor and greatest nutrient density from the boutique farms of Vermont, Switzerland, and Argentina- no cattle food for the Masters.

Contd
Caliban
4.2 / 5 (6) Sep 24, 2011
contd

All this in the face of the concommitant social and economic -and ultimately, political- changes the widespread use of GMOs in the world entails.

Traditional and sufficient crops and methods are forcibly supplanted by GMO agriculture. GMO manufactures leverage the World Bank/Economic Development Fund to foist the pogrom off upon weak and disadvantaged nations whose depotic leaders are only to eager to accept the funding and to compel their populace to plant the GMO seed, without the infrastructure to irrigate the crops, or the money to buy the massive amounts of chemical fertilizers they require for proper cultivation, much less the money to pay for the seed which failed to produce the crop required to pay for it. Starvation for many in Africa -suicide for many Indians.

-what's that, deuspox? "Let the luddites starve."? Never you worry, my friend -you will certainly get your chance to confront the grinning skull. I doubt that you'll have such smug words then...

cont

Caliban
4.5 / 5 (6) Sep 24, 2011

cont

As antialias pointed out, there is always the risk of unforseen, knock-on, consequences of introducing these organisms into the environment -both in terms of human and environmental health. It is entirely conceivable that some transgenic event or other type of "novel" interaction could have seriuos, far reaching, and long lasting or even permanent negative effects.

And then there's just the everyday contamination of ordinary varieties of crops with GMO traits- which could harm their commercial value, nutritional value, or pose a more immediate threat of harm by causing them to become toxic in some way.

None of the examples I've provided are speculation. They have already occurred(with the exception of deuspox's confrontation with the grinning skull) and with -increasing- frequency.

But no one here should be surprised by any of this -regular readers will already be familiar with all of these negatives associated with GMOs.

contd

Caliban
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 24, 2011

cont

Lastly, in fairness, I 'll point out that -for the first time ever- I, too, am in agreement with dogbert. Thanks for pointing out the chillingly obvious.

So, as an object lesson, if anyone ever claims to you that there is no common ground, you are perfectly within your rights to tell them to go piss up a rope, as this statement is demonstrably untrue, even in the most intractable of cases.

Djincss
1 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2011
Dont put all GMO in one basket, you cant be for or against these organism at general, it is ignorant this way.
I am for all the GMo like the gm fish and gm potatoes for paper, but gm corn with bt toxin, I honestly dont know about that.

First to all that think the old practices are so great.......you are out of date my dear people!Way too out of date and knowledge.
How you think we ended up with fruits and vegetables that taste like shit?
the alternative to GM is using radiation and mutagen to stirr the genome as much as possible and to hope that what you want will happen, but with this stirring lots of other stuff are destroyed too, so you manipulate it with mutagens you get something resistant to drought but with that this plant suffer other stuff like less vitamins worst flavor(of course the productivity will be good it is business after all), we all know this , you buy a big apple and it taste like shit.
So the other question is are this oldnew practices harmless, is it...
Djincss
5 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2011
impossible for something harmful to pop out from this random stirring?Why all ppl think it is impossible, the most strong poisons out there are natural, and they happened by random mutation, the same mutations that old practice think is so free of flows, and this stuff that is mutated in a way that only god knows what are NOT TESTED!!!!
Gm first test the substance , the product of the DNA which will be introduced, after that it test the plant itself, and if it is safe it is approved.
And after all the genes that are used are from nature too, is it important which organism have created it when they are harmless and tested?
Why people prefer ignorance and this old way compared to the new way which is both more smart and more safe?
the answer is that people are stupid, and the fact europeans are so against just dont talk good for them.
I aprove resistance for GMO that have arguable safety, but please everybody that think gmo like gm fish is not safe are plain stupid.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2011
Let the Chinese produce them and test them on Asians and Africans first. If they don't grow two heads or four eyes then the West can proudly said we invented it first and what good it has done for the starving masses.
Callippo
4.1 / 5 (8) Sep 24, 2011
Powerful lobby groups opposed to genetically modified (GM) food are threatening public acceptance of the technology in Europe
This claim is tautological - these lobby are powerful just because they're based on wide public opposition. There already exist many connections of GMO to low quality and suspicious products, because the GMO is just another way, how to stuff common food with artificial chemicals. For example strawberries with fish genes, which are prohibiting their rooting. What such thing can be good for? It just enables to sell aged products. The gold rice masking fungi with its color. The GMO cotton spreading roundup resistant weeds. The GMO soya causing food allergies. The GMO corn wiping out the polinators. And I'm not talking about licencing issues, price and fertility lost risk of GMO plants.

http://www.digita...e/270101

No, thank you - this technology is not mature yet.
Callippo
3.8 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2011
I am for all the GMo like the gm fish and gm potatoes for paper, but gm corn with bt toxin, I honestly dont know about that.
Just the GM potatoes are very disputable product. They contain nptII gene, which express the resistance of plants against kanamycin, neomycin, butirosin etc antibiotics, which could promote the spreading of antibiotic resistant bacteria, like the recent Salmonella or tuberculosis.

http://www.thaind...628.html

http://www.vib.be...lora.pdf

The life environment is very complex system with number of feedbacks and every massive perturbation from established equillibria could have unpredictable consequences.
GFoyle
5 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2011
The short history of GM foods provides clear warnings about both the biology and the economics. The drive for profits determines the types of genetic modifications and manners in which they are implemented which override considerations of human health and welfare. The GM business model intends to convert agriculture into a system in which farmers pay every planting season for patented and restricted-use seeds, providing the corporation an indefinite stream of income which converts the value produced by farming into an expropriated rent (through monopoly by biological patent). Many modifications are intended only to protect commercial exclusivity rather than improve plant vigor. Witness the attempt by these corporations to expropriate the land of farmers who avoid GM crops but whose fields have been contaminated by them. Claims about GM superiority never address the documented problems demonstrated in actual practice.

GFoyle
5 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2011
All this is easily established by anyone who investigates the issues. What is deplorable is the fact that PhysOrg would push government-sponsored corporate propaganda as if it were objectively established, scientific results. This research (the Nazis called their racist ideology science and mass murders research) is sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council [ esrc.ac (dot) uk/ ], the UKs largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. They receive most of [their] funding through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Department for BIS [ bis.gov (dot) uk/ ], states its mission as Creating the best conditions for private sector growth. ...Almost everything that BIS doesfrom investing in skills to making markets more dynamic and reducing regulation, and from promoting trade to boosting innovation and helping people start and grow a businesshelps drive growth.
stonelaughter
not rated yet Sep 25, 2011
We have a long history of ignoring the one simple lesson which we've been taught again, and again, and again. Don't screw with nature. Can you say "Red Squirrel"?
Djincss
not rated yet Sep 25, 2011
Just the GM potatoes are very disputable product. They contain nptII gene, which express the resistance of plants against kanamycin, neomycin, butirosin etc antibiotics, which could promote the spreading of antibiotic resistant bacteria, like the recent Salmonella or tuberculosis.

http://www.thaind...628.html

The life environment is very complex system with number of feedbacks and every massive perturbation from established equillibria could have unpredictable consequences.


It is not like that, they have took this resistance from the nature, and some bacteria have this already, bacteria spread these genes from one to another, and it is kind of sci-fi to think they can take this from plants, if they can take this from plants then they can take any dna part from any organism on the planet.
Jaeherys
not rated yet Sep 25, 2011
Although I do agree with some of the comments against GMO here, there are some things to take into consideration. For one, GMO in and of itself are not "bad". What we do with it can be bad. So to have hostility towards GMO just doesn't make sense. Hate on the companies that push to sell GMO that are not up to "natural standards".

Some pretty crazy things can happen with genetics but I have read some SERIOUSLY ignorant comments that portray a total lack of understanding of what a gene actually does.

Also remember, we aern't (for the most part) creating new genes. We are using already evolved genes in other organisms that don't possess them or do not have the ability to express or regulate said genes. We aren't at the point yet where we can just start a new gene from scratch AFAIK.

Genetics will be one of the most important fields of research and we should not hamper the research. But most importantly, we need to make sure that what we produce really is safe before we releaseit
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (14) Sep 25, 2011
For one, GMO in and of itself are not "bad".


The way we do it is to force a gene and/or multiple copies of a gene more or less randomly into the DNA of the organism we want to change. We then see if the resulting organism has the active gene and if that active gene can be passed to progeny.

We do know that non-coding genes have regulatory functions which are not well understood. Disrupting these regulatory genes randomly will have random and possibly serious effects.

We cannot know the nature or extent of the damage done to the DNA by our intentional insertions of foreign genes.
StillWind
1.8 / 5 (8) Sep 25, 2011
I don't suppose that anyone should be surprised that the flat earth luddites who stand against feeding the world are actually happy about this "revelation".
dogbert
1.6 / 5 (13) Sep 25, 2011
I don't suppose that anyone should be surprised that the flat earth luddites who stand against feeding the world are actually happy about this "revelation".


We can feed the world without GM crops -- probably better, certainly more safely.

Being insulting to people who express legitimate concerns and relief that there are countries who are not compromised by GM crops doesn't further your position. Such insults just show your petulance.
Kev_C
3.9 / 5 (7) Sep 25, 2011
GMO's are not natural. They are manipulated DNA pieces which are inserted into other lifeforms whcih they would never ever come into contact with.
For the muppets here who still hang onto the belief in the dodgy science of Genetic Modification please note: 'We have not been Genetically Modifying our food for centuries. Or even thousands of years. The ideas were only conceived in the 1950's (note I said ideas) when the double helix of DNA was first conceived. We have only been physically screwing around with DNA fragments for the last 30 years and it has only become part of the US food chain since 1992.Got that?
As for the GM food being safe? Well just because there hasn't (allegedly) been a lawsuit isn't because there is nothing wrong with the stuff it is because there is no way to trace it thanks to Monsanto's lobbying to keep all GM ingredients a secret ie no labelling of GM ingredients on any products. What kind of game of hide and seek is that?
Its not safe or natural.
Kev_C
3.3 / 5 (3) Sep 25, 2011
In conclusion the idiots who think that this technology is safe need to rethink their future strategy preferably on a dark distance rock in the far reaches of space and preferably one without any atmosphere.
We can only feed the world if we abandon the corporate control food production system and revert to organic farming. Check out the Rodale Institutes recent research paper based on 30 years of continuous work. GM crops failed miserably as did chemically produced food.

There are far too many health issues associated with GM food which because of no labelling there is no way to trace the causes but it is funny how these increased impacts on human and animal health all coincided with the introduction of some form of GM product or other. Tale Posilac for instance. On second thoughts you would be most wise to avoid it like the plague. In fact it is resposible for a whole host of health defects which are potentially fatal and all because the FDA and the USDA are bought and paid for.
Kev_C
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 25, 2011
Oh and stillwind is flying off course completely. I am not a luddite and even if I was I would still oppose the GM technology just as I oppose the right of people like stillwind to dictate my choices. I know natural food is safe and GM food has not been safely tested by independent researchers who can test it without fear of death threats from the biotechs. Yes they have been made several times to several internationla scientists who dared to challenge the emperors new clothes followers who see an opportunity to further their employment by jumping on the bandwagon regardless of the obvious dangers and uncertainties. Amazing what a few financial grants can do to coopt the right sort of publicity stooges with titles etc.
Monsanto refuse point blank to allow anyone to conduct any research on their products because of false fears of patent violations. False because it suits <Monsantos purpose to say so. Hide and seek is a game for children and corrupt biotechs.
omatranter
3.9 / 5 (14) Sep 26, 2011
"In 1982 the Rothschild review recommended greater focus on empirical research and research related to public concerns. From 1983 we became the Economic and Social Research Council.

Two Eugenicists at a foundation linked to the Rothchilds promote human/plant hybrids?
I say Illuminatus, the are trying to destroy organic produce to eventually lower it price for them as we eat GM brain controlling swill.

Where have all the bees gone? Neutron repulsion
godistruth
1 / 5 (11) Oct 09, 2011
I'm extremely encouraged reading the common sense sceptical comments with regards to the utter nonsense that is GMO's. When man attempts to play god like this this will ONLY create disaster. Tampering with food is basically insane. And YES the rate of genetic change being introduced now with gmo's is absurd. And to say that Americans have been eating gmo's safely for years, erm, is not America the sickest nation on Earth ? Organics can feed the world and overpopulation is something i also like the so called benefits of GM i do not take seriously. All the falsely manipulated fear ALWAYS plays into the hands of the corporations, ever notice this ? It's a bit like you scratch my back i scratch yours when you are in the 'big club' and newsflash none of us are in this 'big club'. God made everything under the sun perfect, no mistakes. We can't better it and we should be humble and greatful for this fact. Only god knows all the details. GMO's are part of a eugenics programme.
FrankHerbert
Oct 09, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
OverweightAmerican
1.7 / 5 (12) Oct 09, 2011
It can't possibly be againt god's will, that is just logically impossible - how can something be against somebody's will if they don't exist?

georgesoros
1.4 / 5 (11) Oct 09, 2011
Haha, good point overweight american, but remember logic isn't part of religion.