GMOs in Our Food Production: Contribution to a Nuanced Debate

03.12.2013

KU Leuven

Published 03 December 2013

We are presently confronted with the enormous challenge of providing food, energy and raw materials for an increasing world population with rising standards of living in the coming decades, and doing so in a sustainable manner. In addition to new economic strategies and clear political choices, this will also demand scientific and technical innovation and creativity. In combination with changes to our consumption patterns, fairer distribution, and the reduction of surpluses and wastage, more efficient agriculture and increased crop-efficiency on existing acreage can, in principle, guarantee the provision of food. The potential of the current biotechnological revolution and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to contribute to this process is great, but in spite of the fact that genetically modified crops have already been introduced on a large scale into arable farming, their advantages are often questioned and the public debate surrounding their use is highly polarised. Policies are likewise unclear to say the least and often divided.

A considerable diversity of arguments is employed in the ‘trenches’ of this debate, whereby both health and environment together with socio-economic and ethical considerations have a role to play. Indeed, the same points are often raised in opposite lines of argumentation (For or against: food for debate – chapter 2). For this reason, the primary goal of the workgroup and position paper is to inform and dispel misunderstandings in order to lead this much-needed discussion back to the essentials and to create space for an open, respectful and constructive debate based on fact-generated arguments.

Read the full report here.