Establishment scientist admits that GM is not necessary?

Lord Krebs — ex boss of the Food Standards Agency and now Principal of Jesus College, Oxford — during a debate in the Lords on nanotechnology and the food industry (July 2010),  included an interesting aside about GM:

“. . . .in contrast to what was said about GM products in the 1990s, there are real potential consumer benefits to be had from nanotechnologies”

So GM is abandoned for nanotechnology?  But has our learned friend learned the lessons?  Here are some extracts from his speech:

“A key question at the heart of our report is whether the use of nanotechnologies in food poses potential risks to our health. Some witnesses argued that it might; others were more confident that there is no risk. Our conclusion from the evidence we heard is that, while there is no evidence of a clear and present danger from the use of nanotechnologies in food, there are important gaps in scientific knowledge that need to be filled in order for proper risk assessments to be undertaken. The whole point of using nanotechnologies in food is that they introduce novel properties into materials. Therefore, it is crucial to know how these novel properties affect the human body. While there is a considerable amount of research on the inhalation of nanoparticles and their implications for lung disease, there is far less work on the gut. In fact, we could identify only one research group in this country at the MRC Human Nutrition Research Unit in Cambridge that was active in this field.”

“Does the current regulatory regime ensure that food containing nanoparticles is properly scrutinised for safety? The answer we drew from the evidence we took was: in principle yes; in practice not clear.”

“We did not see, however, an advantage in labelling foods that contain nanomaterials, as we could not see what consumers would do with such information when shopping in the supermarket.”

Source:  Hansard, 13 July 2010, Column 653 ff

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