OK so GM is bad right?
GM – genetic modification. It sounds sort of science fictionish doesn’t it?
Another way of saying it , is genetic engineering – sounds just as bad, maybe even worse.
So what is GM or GE?
It is a process where either genes from one source are placed into another gene sequence of another organisation, or where the genes of an organism are modified. The aim of GM / GE is to either improve a characteristic of an organism or to give that organism a characteristic it did not previously have.
So is that bad?
Many crops are now available as Gm and there are specific conditions which must be met for growing them. Unfortunately with some of these crops, there are big legal issues about reproducing the seeds and who owns what. A good wind in an area can cause major legal issues with GM.
Some years ago, it was identified that in some countries in Asia, there was a Vitamin A deficiency in the population.
Scientists spliced a gene from a carrot species into a species of rice. Carrots are high in Vitamin A and the people of Asia eat rice every day. It seemed like an easy way to increase the Vitamin A content of the diet and reduce the deficiency. Golden Rice was born through GM and is now commonly available throughout Asia.
Is GM bad?
A cow has particular impressive milking characteristics and so the farmer breeds her with a bull with a record of strong calves. The farmer continues to do the same thing over and over to end up with stock that have specific characteristics. This is also GM, although not done in a lab.
Is GM bad?
Recently the US Food and Drug Administration has just approved the first ever genetically modified animal for human consumption. The GM salmon grows quicker than none GE salmon. This means that product is turned over more quickly getting to market sooner and also reducing feed costs.
Is that bad?
GM has a bad rap and there are good reasons why, but there are also just as many reasons why it is a process which will save us money, reduce chemical usage, increaede yields, flavours etc, get product to market quicker and reduce waste.
The real problem with GM is that we just do not know what the long term effects will be with using lab produced materials and any potential allergy issues, although thousands of years of farm GE has produced much of the livestock, produce and crops we eat today.
As a Foodie, I believe that in general GM is just one of the processes in our toolbox to ensure good quality and safe food, but we have to make sure that the law keeps up with the developments happening daily