Need for a sensible debate on technology

Nice to see that, once again, the GM issue is being debated without resorting to hysterical hyperbole and scare tactics. Ah, hang on a minute, I was looking at it from the wrong angle.

Once again, the merest mention of taking a proper look at how new technologies be they genetic modification or nanotechnology can assist in feeding a growing global population has been shouted down by the flat-earthers. Ok, there is a risk with any new technology, but human history is littered with risk and the rewards that took us on evolutionary leaps forward.

The same people who are telling us we're all going to starve to death, or bleed the planet dry trying to feed ourselves, are the same ones whose knee-jerk reaction to the application of science to the problem is akin to taking up the pitchfork and storming the scary-looking castle at the top of the mountain.

For the Soil Association to suggest GM will not feed the planet sustainably (see news story above) made me laugh out loud. It might not but how would we know, as we aren't even allowed to carry out the research effectively. One thing I do know, organic production will not feed the world, sustainably or otherwise, certainly not one that is going to boast nine billion people.

Don't get me wrong I'm not a cheerleader for the GM lobby. But shouldn't we be able to have a serious and sensible debate about the opportunities such technology can offer us, rather than resort to cheap pot-shots and outrageous half-truths to turn consumer opinion against the concept.

When the term "Frankenstein foods" was coined by Iceland boss Malcolm Walker, I believe the battle was virtually lost. It has taken nearly a decade to shake off that perception, so let's not lose another 10 years without some sensible discussion.

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