GM (Genetic modification)
We campaign against genetically modified (GM) crops because they are making farming less fair, more risky and no more sustainable. GM crops have locked farmers further into depending on costly inputs from a handful of powerful chemical companies, and have been sold on false promises.
There is no sign this will change. We mustn’t open the door to more problems or throw good money after bad by chasing the pipe dreams of profiteers and technocrats. Instead, we support practical innovation that addresses real needs, is genuinely sustainable and puts farmers in control of their livelihoods.
Putting farmers in control
The Soil Association campaigns against the use of genetically modified ingredients in human and animal food, and against the commercial planting of GM crops in the UK. This position is shared by the organic movement worldwide and the majority of the public.
We support technologies that help produce food with care for human health, the environment and animal welfare, and which put farmers in control of their own livelihoods. Where GM crops have been planted they are doing the opposite, locking farmers into buying herbicides and costly seed, while breeding resistant weeds and insects. GM crops are the product of a narrow, top-down approach driven not by the needs of farmers, consumers or the environment, but of seed and chemical companies. Just three corporations – Monsanto, Syngenta, and Bayer – are responsible for virtually all commercially released genetically modified crops in the world.
Farmers and the public deserve to choose the kind of future they want for our food, agriculture and countryside, and the risks they are willing to take. But once GM crops are out in the environment they cannot be contained, so they deny that choice. Meanwhile, regulators don’t make good enough safety checks or even ask whether new technologies are in the public interest. We are committed to preserving people’s choice through our standards and we are campaigning for clear labelling which identifies all GM ingredients or derivatives in foods, and labelling for products from animals fed on GM feed.
We oppose moves to weaken regulations that have largely kept commercial GM planting out of the EU, or to spend more on GM research in the hope that it will help feed the world. GM scientists and industry have consistently over-promised and under-delivered, and there is no sign that will change. Countless tried, tested and successful ways of tackling hunger and food insecurity are underused for lack of investment, so it is madness to throw good money after bad on GM, and to open the floodgates to a torrent of risky and unneeded GM crops.