Concern over BBC coverage of GM
Apparently Giles Oldroyd from the pro-GM John Innes Centre wasn't even picked up on the programme when he claimed that GM has been proven to be a 'safe technology', that 25% of our arable land is now cultivated with GM crops, and that millions of people have already been eating GM for decades without a single case of any adverse effects to human health or the environment.
Just to pick up the most glaring points. The figure for global GM crop cultivation is nearer 2% than 25%, and even this is based on figures that may have been inflated c/o the pro-GM lobby group ISAAA.
And given that GM soya wasn't grown for the first time commercially before 1996, people can't have been eating GM for 'decades'.
Unfortunately, scientists at the John Innes Centre have a very long history of making false claims of this sort in support of GM, and stand to gain from its adoption.
You can catch the piece via BBC Radio 4, listen again (4 June, 8.32-8.38am)
And there's a short summary below. The BBC website allows for feedback if you have any concerns about the balance of the coverage or the accuracy of the unchallenged claims made in the programme.
'The rise in the cost of food has caused real hardship for millions of people. Could GM crops offer the solution?'
BBC science correspondent Tom Fielden reports from the FAO conference in Rome and provides a short summary of attitudes to GM world-wide. Includes reasoning why GM has not taken off in Africa to date.
Patrick Mulvany, senior policy adviser at Practical Action and Chair of the UK Food Group, goes head to head with pro-GM Dr Giles Oldroyd from the John Innes Centre.
Patrick Mulvany speaks from the UN summit in Rome, "It is very sad to see the parade of heads of state, of private sector corporations, pushing technological fixes when in fact the problems are much more deep seated and require a much greater application of traditional science and local knowledge in order to be able to ensure that the planet can feed itself in the future. These quick fixes being proposed really are not the answer and this is backed up by many many studies."
Patrick refers to the IAASTD study which found that a move to organic farming would improve food security and food sovereignty in the long term
Dr Giles Oldroyd denies that GM crops need excessive pesticide and fertiliser use and claims that to the contrary GM technology is taking the agriculture process 'more towards an organic approach'. He describes GM as a 'valuable tool' which increases yields and has 'huge potential for small scale farmers'. [read: has 'huge potential for John Innes Centre researchers!]
Oldroyd states that GM has been proven to be a 'safe technology', 25% of our arable land is now cultivated with GM crops and that millions of people have already been eating GM for decades [??!!!!] without a single case of any adverse effects to human health or the environment.