The great GM food hysteria: Do you believe eating genetically modified crops is like dining with the devil? No wonder - that's exactly what apocalyptic eco-zealots want you to think
Published 6 July 2013
The lush, glorious wheat pictured here is ripening fast, growing healthily despite not being drenched in industrial-strength pesticides. This is because it has been genetically modified. It produces a pheromone found in mint, which repels aphids naturally.
It’s a beautiful, bucolic scene. But because the crop is GM, it has to be protected from protesters armed with strimmers and flamethrowers. Security men with dogs patrol 24/7 between high concentric steel fences.
This is the Rothamsted agricultural research station in Hertfordshire, the oldest and one of the most eminent units of its type in the world.
Its director, Professor Maurice Moloney, explains: ‘Aphids are very damaging to wheat. They spread plant viruses and suck out the juice. The wheat here will resist them. But every so often I get texts threatening to destroy it.’
So he has to protect his crop with measures that have been the norm since 2000. Then, Greenpeace’s former executive director Lord Melchett and 27 of his followers were found not guilty of criminal damage after destroying a GM crop in Norfolk.