GM (Genetic modification)
We campaign against the use of genetically modified (GM) 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.
GM drives out and destroys the systems that international scientists agree we need to feed the world. We need farming that helps poorer African and Asian farmers produce food, not farming that helps Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto produce profits. We support practical innovation that addresses real needs, is genuinely sustainable and puts farmers in control of their livelihoods.
Feeding the world
Owen Paterson, in his speech of June 2013, is wrong to claim GM crops will help feed the world. In fact, they will make it harder to feed the world because they will drive out and destroy the farming systems that international scientists and development charities agree we need to combat world hunger.
GM supporters have been promising higher food yields and other benefits for over 20 years, without a single commercial example of this actually happening.
Worse for wildlife
UK scientific research found GM crops are worse for wildlife. The only large-scale farm-based research project in the world ever to look at the impact of GM crops on wildlife was carried out in the UK between 1999 and 2004 (the Farm Scale Evaluation). Scientists found that overall GM crops were worse for farm wildlife than non-GM crops.
Organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds and butterflies - up to 50% more than non-organic farms.
Locking farmers in
GM crops are not delivering what they promised. Where GM crops have been planted they are locking farmers into buying inputs and costly seed, while encouraging resistant weeds and insects and not delivering the increased yields as promised. They have increased the use of weedkillers not reduced it.
Three chemical companies – Monsanto, Syngenta, and Bayer – are responsible for virtually all commercially released genetically modified crops.
Changing the focus
The UK Government should focus on agroecological farming systems. The UK Government should not look to pursue outdated GM technology but should instead focus on innovative agricultural research including agroecological systems such as organic farming which produce good yields of crops with far lower inputs and producing food with higher animal welfare, lower pollution, and with more wildlife and jobs on farms.
UK scientists have recently announced they have achieved a 30% increase in wheat yield without using GM, demonstrating the truth of what opponents of GM have been saying for 20 years, namely that there is more potential in modern non-GM crop breeding technologies than there is in GM crops.
What consumers want
According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), shoppers want more information about GM and how it is getting into our food. In the UK, most non-organic meat, milk and eggs are from animals fed on GM animal feed. Government Ministers are ignoring a recent FSA study which found that two in three people want any food derived from animals fed on GM to declare the fact on the label.
China recently decided not to grow any GM food crops, as did Kenya, and there is a continuing, growing debate in the USA, where the public are demanding accurate labelling of GM food.