GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD
Food for thought
Public hostility to the genetic modification of crops risks slowingdown the development of a potentially important technology - which is why more must be done to reassure consumers
Genetic modification, or GM, is a way of adding genes conferring resistance toinsect, fungal and viral pests to plants that might otherwise succumb or require pesticides. It can also foster herbicide-resistance, meaning that weeds can be easily killed even among standingcrops. All this increases yields and should (at least in a free market, which is admittedly a rare occurrence in agriculture) reduce prices. In the future, its proponents hope, it may also enhancea crop's nutritional value.
Yet despite these benefits, protests against GM are mounting, especially but not only in Europe. GM crops are unpopular; many people positively hate them. As one Essexprotester put it, "My only objection to genetically modified foods is that they're unsafe, unwanted and unnecessary."
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