Should New Zealand grow genetically modified (GM) crops?
In the past two decades we have seen a steady increase in the use of GM crops. There are over 20 biotech crop countries and over 130 million hectares are used for GM production worldwide (as of 2009). Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) will not approve a GM food unless it is proven and justified as safe to eat, so far approximately 40 applications for GM foods have been approved as safe to eat. So what’s all the fuss about? If we approve GM foods to be eaten in our country then why not grow them right? I try to find the answer as I investigate what GM foods are, what are the advantages and disadvantages, and my own perspective on GM foods and if New Zealand should be next in line to ‘go GM’. Firstly, what are GM foods? In a brief form GM foods (derived from GM organisms) are foods –mostly crops, that have had their genetic makeup altered; a gene coding for a specific and desired trait (such as drought tolerance) inserted to create and grow plants with that specific desired trait. Should New Zealand grow GM crops? -Advantages of GM
GM producers claim that with GM methods they are able to increase yield as they can ultimately reduce or possibly eliminate factors that have affected crops in the past, this includes; pest destruction, and even the reduction of possible drought, salinity and disease. Crops can also be sprayed for weed eradication and still survive, some require less herbicides as crops can be altered to have ‘built in’ herbicides/other resistances making them environmentally friendly as well. Because of these methods there is a considerable amount of reduction on costs for consumers as labour costs have been reduced thus, giving greater access to food for more people. Producers claim that with such methods we can insure food security in the future as world population is said to increase to 10 billion by 2100(according to the UN). Nutritional value and flavour are also said to be...
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