Food and agriculture

GM foods must be labelled so Hong Kong consumers can make an informed choice

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 April, 2018, 3:54pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 April, 2018, 3:54pm

I refer to Sara Wong’s letter (“Why GM foods are not the solution to world hunger”, April 10).

Large agricultural enterprises often say that genetically modified (GM) foods can increase yield and provide better nutrition. But there are also reports of the potential drawbacks.

One of the controversies relating to GM foods is the potential damage to species diversity. With the development of genetic modification technology, biodiversity may be weakened. For example, GM salmon can possibly be three times larger and grow faster but, if they compete for food sources in the ocean, this may prompt the depletion of the original species.

Again, if GM crops can lead to increased production, pest resistance and nutrition, would that lead to the cultivation of only a small number of crop varieties? Existing species could be overrun by more dominant new species. And would the modified genes have any effect on small organisms that feed on GM crops?

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A lot of research has shown that GM foods are safe to eat. However, the question is not only about the here and now, but the future. Who knows what long-term effects will be experienced by later generations? If we keep producing GM foods until somebody finds out they could do harm, it would be too late. Therefore, GM food production shouldn’t be promoted.

In Hong Kong, labelling GM foods is not compulsory. This leaves citizens unaware about the health choices they are making.

Chelsea Luo, Lohas Park