I’m often asked what my thoughts are on things like GM and Cloning by non-farming friends and colleagues.
- I believe in choice for the consumer, so if it is really what people want then fine.
- It is unecessary because “traditional” advances in yields are already outgrowing population forecasts anyway.
- Massive potential for single genome plants/animals to be susceptable to single diseases/pathogens – Genetic variation is a massive benefit in disease protection. Imagine if all british dairy cows were cloned from the same cow and all died – not good for food security.
- If we routinely clone other animals how long before we start to justify others like……Humans? That can’t be good!
However, because of the lobbying pressure and widespread research these genes are creeping into our livestock and plant sectors anyway through sale of bulls and semen and cross pollination. So do we really know that our commodity level food is GM or Clone free now?
No we don’t.
This gives a small producer like me a slight dilema of conscience. . . .
You see it can only help small artisan producers.
Every time I see something like this I get a little guilty glow of pleasure knowing that it can only drive more business towards small authentic producers. This is always tempered by the fact that I would rather it didn’t happen in the first place.
The real problem is signposting and labelling. A market works best with perfect information. The trouble is that the market has spoken in its true democratic sense – NO-ONE WANTS TO BUY FOOD WITH “GM” or “CLONED” stamped on the front.
So what do the big multiples do?
Blur the lines between GM/CLONED and bog standard food by infiltrating it into our everyday shopping. How long before we hear the refrain “its too late now – it’s already in everything anyway…”
So the fact that you now don’t know what is in the food you buy from the supermarket anymore means that more people will choose to buy from small genuine producers. Producers who know exactly what went in to every single mutton chop or celery stalk. If you can shake the hand of the person who grew your food then it’s not a bad start.