Defra Food

  • 17/08/09
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gm_homeBack from holidays so more regular posts will resume. Defras food reports and briefings all make the right noises and – in general – we are in agreement. How could we not be?

Hillary Benn is quite right to argue that the three main challenges are:

* how to meet the economic and environmental challenges of increased productivity in the food chain

*how to help people eat more healthily and ensure people have access to safe, affordable food

* how to ensure that the way food is produced today doesn’t damage the natural resources on which future food production depends.

But why then is there all this talk of GM food which nobody wants and locks ownership of food into the hands of corporations? This is a technocratic fix. The “why” is answered by looking across the pond at what’s been happening in the States, with very similar revolving doors and lobbying happening here. The simple truth is, we don’t need GM technology. Using sustainable and organic farming methods will allow us to repair the damage done by industrial farming, reducing the excessive use of fertiliser, herbicides and other man-made chemicals, and making GM crops redundant. The Scottish Govt is quite right to take a very different approach. This from Counterpunch:

“Michael R. Taylor’s appointment by the Obama administration to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 7th sparked immediate debate and even outrage among many food and agriculture researchers, NGOs and activists. The Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto Corp. from 1998 until 2001, Taylor exemplifies the revolving door between the food industry and the government agencies that regulate it. He is reviled for shaping and implementing the government’s favorable agricultural biotechnology policies during the Clinton administration.

Yet what has slipped under everyone’s radar screen is Taylor’s involvement in setting U.S. policy on agricultural assistance in Africa. In collusion with the Rockefeller and Bill and Melinda Gates foundations, Taylor is once again the go-between man for Monsanto and the U.S. government, this time with the goal to open up African markets for genetically- modified (GM) seed and agrochemicals.”