Opening: "In a desperate effort to reverse its failing fortunes, the biotechnology industry and its supporters are putting their faith in the ‘second generation’ of genetically modified (GM) crops. It is claimed that many of these will bring consumer benefits by offering foods with enhanced nutritional value (so-called ‘functional foods’). Other genetic modifications to the nutritional composition of crops are intended to facilitate food or animal feed production or provide ingredients for other industrial uses from cosmetics and personal healthcare to biodegradable plastics and biofuels. This briefing reviews what is under development and what the risks and benefits may be."
-----http://www.ifr.bbsrc.ac.uk/neodiet/IntroductionPlant foods are the most important source of energy and nutrients for much of the world's population. There is evidence however, that they are not delivering nutrients in optimal amounts to target cells either because they are not present in plant foods at sufficiently high enough levels or their bioavailability is low and affected by other factors in the plant which inhibit uptake. Another issue of importance is the presence of natural chemicals in plant foods which do not act as nutrients but appear to have positive functional effects (e.g. anti-oxidant effects) which could offer protection against chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.The exciting developments which have occurred in plant biotechnology now make it possible to consider altering their composition in ways which will improve their human nutritional and functional potential. The importance of this goal in meeting the overall objectives of the European Union's FAIR programme has resulted in generous support being given by DG XII for a concerted action for a period of three years. NEODIET will focus European scientific attention on the opportunities and challenges which research in the area will provide. It will act as a mechanism through which all of the results from relevant work being funded through the BIOTECH and FAIR programmes can be drawn together and effectively disseminated.
---It's not just the Greenpeace trial that's going on in Norwich at the moment. Thanks to Liz Wallace for the information about this event: Conference on Nutritional Enhancement of Plant Food at the John Innes Centre, on the Norwich Research Park Today there are workshops and Lord Traverne and Prof Janet Bainbridge are speaking. To give you a sense of what to expect, here's Lord Dick Taverne QC speaking in the House of Lords:"Vitamin A can be engineered into rice plants. This could save the lives of millions of children who now die from Vitamin A deficiency. I could multiply the examples. But this kind of evidence has been largely ignored, suppressed or distorted by the press, by some of the broadsheets as well as tabloids."Ignored? Suppressed? This "miracle rice" has been proclaimed from the cover of Time magazine to Clinton at the G8 summit -- despite the limited scientific understanding underpinning the project, not to mention the simpler alternatives already available (unlike the rice which is still in the lab). And these are just the latest helpings in what has become almost a mono-diet of Golden-Rice type hype served up around the world.Bainbridge, of course, is the GM zealot who told the public they didn't have the expertise to make any judgements about the GM issue and should just take what the experts gave them. Naturally, she heads the key UK regulatory committee for GM foods -- ACNFP.The public can attend the conference but the whole cost on registering is £94!ON THE LOCAL RADIO THE CONFERENCE WAS ADVERTISED YESTERDAY AS SOMETHING LIKE " ARE ORGANIC FOODS SO GOOD FOR YOU?" !!!!
Looks like this conference will be hitting all the current biospin campaigning points:
*GM can make food better
*GM's good for the malnourished
*organics are dangerous
Well done the JIC! Another triumph for "independent" science.
Interestingly, there appears to be no mention of this event on the JIC website, which has a conferences section.
For more on the JIC - see: http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/biospin.htm