Four Arguments Against GM Food Production

Safe Food.jpgThe argument for GM Food is supported by those taking a number of positions: 1. That GM will increase food production and we need to feed the world (false on both counts); 2. that GM will provide business opportunities for our local farmers (false, though it is true of the owners of GM patents); and 3. that we ought to trust the science and technology of GM, and fear of eating GM food is merely the ignorance of the masses that will soon be put to rest by even more science (supercilious, and false).

In response to a letter arguing for essentially all of these dubious positions, I penned the following.  


Letter to the Editor, Hawkes Bay Today (January 2017)

science-vs-humanitiesDaryl Petersen obviously believes that GM food production is merely a technological tool whose science is secure, and eventually the people will all wake up and mature to his higher level of knowing. For the benefit of those that think like Mr Petersen, there are actually four arguments against GM.

The biggest by far is the premium price position of GM Free versus lower than commodity position of GM. Have a look at the nightmare real price reduction of agricultural commodities over the last 60 years. You do not want to be on an even worse trajectory than that. GM is that worse.

The second is containment. Once some short-term thinker decides on GM, it effectively cuts out his neighbour from going for premium market position, forcing below-commodity as the position of NZ agriculture. That is pure and utter madness.

The third is that – despite what Mr Petersen expresses so patronisingly – the science is nowhere near settled, partly because so many of the mega-corporates who do the GM have all sorts of veto rights to ensure there is no independent science presented – only their approved variety. I have seen visiting academics who don’t want to be sued, so don’t monsanto-no-food-grown-we-dont-ownpublish, but present horror stories. And then look at the concerted attacks on those that do publish within the loopholes of the veto rights.

And the fourth is the attempts by mega-corporates to control the wider food system by effectively patenting food, including ancient foods and plants whose genomes we all own as a ‘common’. More privatisation of the commons. Anyone think that is a desirable end? GM is a corporate-sponsored Mordor in the making.

Chris Perley


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5 Responses to Four Arguments Against GM Food Production

  1. Marion Thomson says:

    Great letter Chris I hope it is published !

  2. petichinin says:

    Hi Chris, GREAT blog. Succinct important points. A good degree of argument personalisation without ‘character assassination’ and stirring turns of phrase. Good job!!1 thank you, Phyllis

    Phyllis Tichinin
    CEO and Founder
    True Health Ltd.
    64 – 06 874 7897 or 027 465 1906
    PO Box 8055 Havelock North NZ 4157

  3. Matt Walker says:

    Can you explain further how corporations can veto what is published in scientific journals? I would like to see some evidence of that. Not publishing for fear of being sued sounds difficult to believe, particularly because scientists do it all the time. If good science was denied publishing in a reputable journal, for reasons such as this, it would be scandalous and the journal would be at great risk of ruining its reputation and thereby losing its contributors and readership. I would need to see some evidence to back up the claim…If you can provide that evidence, I would be as angry as you are. Cheers.

    • cjkperley says:

      Look to the contracts relating to purchasing GM seed. My understanding – from what I have been told by some researchers – is that you cannot publish research relating to those purchased seeds from certain corporates without approval. That is a veto right. Jack Heinmann from Canterbury would be a useful contact regarding the details. The lack of independence of research relating to Monsanto et al. is one of his major concerns.

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