An intriguing article in the University of Queensland monthly newsletter by Professor Ian Goodwin of the University’s School of Agriculture and Food Science argues that whilst eating Organic might make you feel good about your diet, it may not actually be sustainable, or in the best long-term interests of humanity as a whole.
He also argues that genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are compatible with organic agriculture and that, for some crops, they can actually increase production and improve food safety.
Professor Godwin said that “Genetically modified products fit in perfectly with organics”, and that “GMOs allow the creation of disease-and pest-resistant plants which require less fertiliser for the same yield and product quality.”
Now I am sure this article and Professor Godwin’s beliefs will undoubtedly leave many people who have strong negative opinions about GMO foods irate, but I believe that we should all be open to listen and consider this issue from a different perspective; in particular when it comes from a highly respected academic who has devoted much of his life to researching the issue.
My Summary and the Original Article
Eating organically grown food might make you feel good inside, but a University of Queensland researcher says organic agriculture is not necessarily sustainable and— contrary to popular belief — often relies on chemical sprays.
Professor Ian Godwin, from the University of Queensland School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, argues that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are perfectly compatible with organic agriculture, and can actually improve production and food safety.
“Genetically modified products fit in perfectly with organics,” Professor Godwin said.
“GMOs allow the creation of disease-and pest-resistant plants which require less fertiliser for the same yield and product quality.”
He said GMO food required less space to grow, which meant much higher yields per hectare.
Professor Godwin said there were misconceptions about organic production as well as about GMO foods.
“People think organic crops don’t get sprayed, but in commercial farming that’s not possible.
“You can’t use fungicides in organic production, so people use various different combination of chemicals, but mostly copper.
“Farmers who’ve been doing this with potatoes over the years are now getting higher levels of copper in the soil then the World Health Organisation recommends.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s organic or not, if you’re growing potatoes, you’ll be spraying them every few weeks.”
Professor Godwin explains the myths around GM foods in the first episode of Science Over Coffee, a video series created by UQ Researcher Dr Lee Hickey.
You can read the full article and watch a video interview with Professor Godwin by following this link.
The series aims to bust common misconceptions surrounding science.