Biotech and Sainsbury-Scientist Jonathan Jones has recently been cheer-leading for public subsidy for GM crops and for further deregulation of controls ocer this unproven and unnecessary technology.
This from GM Watch: “The notion that the already inadequate checks and balances [on GM] should be further weakened by smoothing the pathway to approval of GM crops should be seen for what it is: somewhat cynical and entirely self serving.”
The response to these bizarre ideas – and the shock that they are even getting any credence is expressed by Dr Paul Johnston from Greenpeace:
So, welcome one and all to a strange ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world, where we will pay more for natural goods produced in a sustainable manner, where unnatural products and industrial agriculture are touted as good for the planet and where the public purse and weakened regulations underpin corporate profit. I have to wonder what Professor Jones could have been eating?
In a recent Ecologist interview, the scientist leading the controversial trials of genetically modified (GM) potatoes in the UK, Professor Jonathan Jones, outlined his vision for the future of GM crops, proposing economic and policy changes that appear to be based on some sweeping assumptions and his own perceptions of the supposed benefits of these crops. In my view, Prof. Jones’ vision is deeply flawed in relation to its potential scientific, ecological and public policy impacts.
Professor Jones states that in the future, he expects about 90 per cent of several important staple crops, including maize and soy, to be genetically modified, and recommends that public sector funding should be used to help biotech companies further develop these, and other GM crop varieties. In addition, he suggests that the costs of regulation to the GM industry be reduced to zero, and that the products themselves be labeled to promote their (supposed) benefits.
Professor Jones’ ambitions for the future of GM would undoubtedly prove highly lucrative for Mendel Biotechnology – which he co-founded and is a science advisory board member – which carries out contract research for the biotechnology giants Monsanto and Bayer. More troubling are the implications of Prof. Jones’ suggestions for the conduct of robust science and the use of scientific information in informing policy and the effective regulation of GM crops.