Spuds on trial

Posted on 01 Aug 2011 in Protect Nature | 1 comment

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Nine days ago there was a spud rally in Norwich.

People from Wales, France, London, Devon, Lancaster, Manchester, Dorset, Liverpool, Bristol, Yorkshire and Bungay joined local people and farmers to deliver 40 boxes of spuds to the Sainsbury Laboratory there.

The message was loud and clear… these people were there to tell Sainsburys and the Government to “Stop gambling with our chips!” The spirit of the protest was brilliantly captured by Indy Media UK.

In 2010 the Sainsbury Laboratory at the John Innes Centre in Norwich was authorised by Defra to start trials of genetically modified potatoes engineered to resist late potato blight.

GM usually involves inserting genes from one species of plant or animal into another species of plant or animal. In this case the potatoes contain genes from a potato relative from South America.

The campaigners say that there are already several blight-resistant potato varieties being grown in Britain under conventional and organic farming methods, without the inherent risks of GM to people’s health and the environment. They turned up with 40 boxes of organically-grown blight-resistant spuds to make the point that farming solutions can be found without resorting to genetic modification.

So far £1.7 million of public money has been used to fund the 2 year spud trial, even though GM has failed to deliver commercial crops of any benefit to farmers or consumers. So far the main beneficiaries of GM technology in food are the big chemical companies who patent the technology, ignore the risks and put profit before people. This is why Protect Nature is one of hiSbe‘s 8 Everyday Choices.

With big food corporations aggressively pushing the Government and the industry to allow more unproven, unlabelled GM technology into our food, it’s time to get clued up about it… if you want to know more about the many ways to resist GM, check out the Soil Association and GM Freeze.


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