Big news released today from Scottish Secretary of Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead. Mr. Lochhead has announced that Scotland will be opting out of growing any GM crops, in order to maintain the country’s “clean, green status.”
The Cabinet Secretary said:
“Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment – and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status.
“There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector.
“Scottish food and drink is valued at home and abroad for its natural, high quality which often attracts a premium price, and I have heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash.
“That is why I strongly support the continued application of the precautionary principle in relation to GM crops and intend to take full advantage of the flexibility allowed under these new EU rules to ban GM crops from being grown in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government has long-standing concerns about GM crops – concerns that are shared by other European countries and consumers, and which should not be dismissed lightly.
“I firmly believe that GM policy in Scotland should be guided by what’s best for our economy and our own agricultural sector rather than the priorities of others. I recently kicked off a national discussion on the future of Scottish agriculture, and welcome views from all sides of the GM debate.” (source)
Genetically modified crops (like the majority of corn, soybeans, and several other crops grown in the U.S.) have very little evidence supporting their safety one way or the other. If you dig deep enough into what little scientific studies have been done, there are plenty of red flags and questions raised… enough that I believe we should definitely be doing more research on the subject rather than using Americans and countless other humans worldwide as guinea pigs. Good on Scotland for wanting to protect the integrity of their land and food supply!!
My primary concerns with eating genetically modified foods come from a natural skepticism over the fact that they have been around for only a short amount of time, coupled with the mounting evidence that they may be harming us and are certainly changing agriculture, possibly forever. I personally believe we can trust that nature knows what it’s doing, and when we start to tamper with it, we are risking a lot. Not to say that innovation and advancement don’t have a place… just that we are taking a BIG risk by accepting these crops into our diet, when there has been very little evidence to award them the status of safe and good for us.
Not to mention that earlier this year the World Health Organization gave glyphosate (the primary chemical ingredient in Monsanto’s Round-Up) a “probably carcinogenic” label. This is significant, since many GM crops have been created with the sole purpose to withstand a higher dose of the toxic weed killer, which is sprayed on over 80% of GMO crops. Even though the crops are absorbing more of the toxic herbicide, they don’t die… but what exactly is it doing to us when we eat them? No one really knows for sure.
Scotland has joined “more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union [that have] significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale. Increasingly, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and choosing to opt out of the GMO experiment.” (source)
Want to learn more about GMOs? Here’s a good place to start.
What do you think about Scotland’s stance on GM crops? Do you think the U.S. should follow suit?
photo credits: depositphotos.com/ellenamani, romitas