The Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry



Volume 21, Number 2, pp. 47-52




Should you eat and damage your health?

Graham C. Holt

Collegium Basilea (Institute of Advanced Study), Basel, Switzerland

Genetically modified crops have been a source of controversy for at least three decades. However, concerns of contamination of the natural habitat by these crops to produce mutant "Triffid" like strains have not materialized. The modifications were introduced to make the crops tolerant to weed-killing herbicides and in the last 20 years it is becoming apparent that these herbicides, containing glyphosate, are the real cause for concern. Glyphosate is now classed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as "probably carcinogenic in humans", but the preceding two decades have seen increasing productivity of farmers and the advent of food costs rising less than inflation. For most people the high cost of "organic" (i.e., grown without herbicides) crops makes them impracticable; only the wealthy in Western nations can afford such food over a prolonged interval. We all take risks in everyday life and eating is just one of them; the issue then is how much of a risk are we taking?


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