Riverford

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What are GM crops?

GM stands for ‘genetic modification’ or ‘genetically modified’. A genetically modified organism is any living thing (microbe, plant, fungus or animal) whose genetic material has been altered through genetic engineering. GM crops are those that scientists have engineered to have certain traits, e.g. herbicide resistance, or to grow in certain ways that may be impossible naturally. Put very simply, this is done by cutting up the DNA of one living thing, taking out the section (or gene) that creates the desired trait, and inserting that gene into the DNA of the crop. Sometimes these genes are taken from other plants; other times they are from completely different organisms, such as bacteria.

GM is a controversial issue; many feel that it is dangerous to change the genetic structure of organisms without knowing what the consequences will be. Others feel that no-one can predict the benefits GM might bring, so to reject the science entirely would be foolish. We feel the bigger issue with GM is over who owns the technology and therefore who has significant control of the food chain. 87% of the global surface of GM crops is controlled by the agri-tech giant Monsanto, either directly through the sale of seeds or indirectly through the licence of traits for which they own the patents. Meanwhile, big biotech companies have been buying up the global seed trade over the last 20 years; the top three (Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta) own a staggering 47%. We are uneasy with a global food supply being controlled by the same people who brought us DDT, Agent Orange and PCB. In addition to this, with the loss of smaller seed companies goes local varieties suited to local conditions and requirements.

Organic farms never grow GM crops, organic livestock are never given GM feed, and an organic soup, pie or marmalade will never have GM ingredients. Our range of boxes offer the best 100% organic seasonal selections chosen by us; or you can browse our full range of fruit and veg or organic meat.