GM Crops – Not all they were cracked up to be
Since the 1990s the controversy over genetically modified (GM) crops has largely focused on their long term impact on human and animal health and the environment. However, research by the New York Times indicates that the more fundamental problem is that GM crops do not produce higher yields, nor have they led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.
Data from the UN shows that the US and Canada, where GM crops are grown, have not gained any advantage in yields compared to Western Europe where GM crops are not grown. There is also little evidence that the introduction of GM crops in the US has led to yield increases compared to conventional crops. At the same time herbicide use in the US has increased (1).
Although GM crops are not grown on a commercial basis in the UK at the moment there may be GM crops in the food chain from imported goods, especially in processed foods. The most common GM foods are maize (corn), soya, sugar beet and rapeseed oil. Most GM crops are grown as animal food so non organic meat and dairy products are a major source of GM in the food chain. Fortunately, GM crops and feeds are not used in organic farming or organic animal feeds. So, if you want to avoid eating GM organisms go organic as much as possible and avoid processed foods where the provenance of the ingredients may be unclear.
Doubts about the promised bounty of genetically modified crops, Danny Hakim, Oct.29 2016, NY times