back to article Europe grows more (and more) GM crops

Just days after the European Commission gave its stamp of approval to four new GM plants, a report has revealed that the area of Europe's arable land devoted to genetically modified crops has risen by 77 per cent in the last year. The total area of GM cultivation is now 1,000 square kilometres*. The only widely planted GM crop …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    My software crashes

    Someone took over my well documented code, and thought they understood what it's doing, but they clearly didn't.

    They've introduced deadlocks in the mutexes that causes the application to freeze if you catch it just right. The mutex times out, but by then the connection has dropped and the whole thing crashes.

    Lucky for them, I'm there to fix it.

    Just in case these badly tested GM crops should crash, can be get God's phone tech support number?

    Also are GM crops GPL'd? If so can we get the source code? I'd hate to find out we're working from a dissembly.

  2. Gavin McMenemy

    Logic problem!


    I am a bit confused.

    There are two different news stories that you have confused (conflated?) together.

    First of all the increase in GM crops. Ok, this is a fair bit of news journalism. I suppose we should be told about that.

    Then you go on to mention the organic study...

    What's this got to do with the increase in GM?

    The Organic study compared Organic growing methods with 'traditional' industrial farming - not GM.

    So why mention both?

  3. Ed Deckard


    "The news comes as a four year study by boffins at Newcastle University has shown that organic produce, although variable, has higher levels of nutrients such as antioxidants, and lower levels of fatty acids.

    The research has promoted calls from organic standards body the Soil Association for the government's Food Standards Agency to shift its official position on organic food."

    Because research has shown people in Western, First World nations such as the UK have severe nutrient deficiencies. Except for the vegan/fruitarian/raw food contingents. Absolutely.

  4. James


    Most of these GM crops end up in animal fodder, so I'm sure farmers will be delighted their cows are on low-fat high nutrient diets. Grass is so 20th century.

  5. O

    @ Gavin

    If widescale GM farming goes ahead, then organic agriculture - by its very definition - becomes impossible, due to contamination with GM. The original organic certification body in Canada disbanded itself some years ago, stating that because GM crops had become so widespread there, it was difficult to reliably certify many things as organic, due to the afore mentioned contamination.

  6. Olly Houlton

    Were GM crops in the study?

    Is there anything to say that GM crops cannot be grown in an organic way? After all much of the point of GM crops is that they can be pest resistant and so do not need the pesticide sprays that intensive farming requires.

    So, is there any evidence pointing to a health benefit of Normal crops grown organically and what happens if a GM grop was grown organically?

    Or is the recent widespread reporting of this study, along with the sombre declaration of how many Hectares of GM crops are being grown in Europe, just another way of jumping on the bandwagon?

  7. Dunstan Vavasour

    GM Labelling

    Note that the surge in GM crops is maize to be fed to cattle. Food which contains GM constituents must be labelled as such, which has a similar effect to labelling it with a skull and crossbones. But dairy produce from cows which have been fed GM maize doesn't have to bear this stigma.

    Perhaps the article should be titled "GM usage grows where we can get away with not telling consumers it's GM".

  8. Gavin McMenemy

    @ O

    "If widescale GM farming goes ahead, then organic agriculture - by its very definition - becomes impossible, due to contamination with GM. The original organic certification body in Canada disbanded itself some years ago, stating that because GM crops had become so widespread there, it was difficult to reliably certify many things as organic, due to the afore mentioned contamination."

    Amongst other things I work in UK Agricultural industry administering to (amongst other things) Organic certification. Ok; I work in the IT sense but I am required to know a but about it.

    The scale of your misinformation knows no bounds.

    Again, yes again, I am presented with someone conflating different issues.

  9. Matt Milford

    GM Organic

    Could it be that growing GM crops organically is a damn sight easier than growing non gm crops?

    Whatever insects eat the crops dont have to be killed with pesticides... is that not the point?

  10. Alex

    one day...

    the chickens will rise up and destroy you all!


  11. Anonymous Coward

    Organic GM Crops,

    Who exactly would buy an item of food marked "Genetically Modified food, Organically Grown"?

    Nobody. Your target market is zero. You can barely sell Genetically Modified food to the regular consumer, let alone the people who want to pay more for natural food which is what they're after when the buy 'Bio' stuff.

    So that could only ever work if you can disguise the GM nature of the food, mislabeling, non labeling, using some sort of fancy logo that doesn't convey the meaning....

    My view on this is clear and simple. Natural genetic changes are small and slow and tested for survival by natural selection. We have a minimal risk with that, the crop has a good chance of survival and likely to have been well tested by nature.

    Even so, occasionally a new pest arrives like Potato Blight and nations starve.

    GM changes are very much larger, the testing time is much shorter than happens in nature and the selection process is for profit not for survival. Which is great for the companies, but puts our food supply at risk if they've screwed up.

    They cause a far higher risk of a surprise failure in our food supply, and that's more important than Monsanto profits.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *4.8 centiWales.

    OMG that's fecking huge.

  13. Andy Bright

    Again, all I can say to these lot is..

    DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS - they'll kill you all.. RUN!!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Milford

    Not necessarily the point. Different stakeholders want different GM for different reasons. After all, you presumably don't believe "Roundup Ready" GM was developed so farmers could buy/use less of the product ? Surely it's so they can drench the crops with it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There is no scientifically proven benefit in organic food. Its content of antioxidants( which, by the way are not proven to be beneficial) is not related to its organic nature. The content of dangerous toxins of organic food, is a general cause of concern. These toxins, produced by molds, are heavily carcinogenic. Aflatoxin, Ochratoxin, etc are but examples.

  16. Ikje


    You organic fools!

    Can someone of you define to me what you consider to be a true and trusted organic culture? And please, name your species and cultivar. Without this information, all exchange is useless.

  17. skeptical i

    frankenfood not considered organic ...

    ... by USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) standards, at least as of this writing (i.e., until Monsanto and friends buy enough Congresscritters to get USDA to "adjust" the definition). I believe there is a fraction of a percent of fudge factor to account for the fact that, given windblown pollen from GM crops hither and yon, it is almost impossible to be 100% purely GM-free. Note that traditional hybridization and cross- breeding practices are not considered genetic modification for this purpose (we likes our Marionberries, pluots, and broccoflower). "Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation." from a USDA info page at Also, there are studies to indicate that organic produce is higher in vitamins and minerals than non- organic because organic practices tend to nourish the soil, which better nourishes the plants. While chemical fertilizers do promote growth, they don't necessarily boost nutritional content. Many U.S. arable acres (centiWales) have been stripped of nutritional value over time because the soil has been worked to death, which causes more fertilizer use, which further reduces productivity, and so on in a vicious cycle. But as long as Monsanto makes money coming and going, that will not change any time soon.

  18. Steve

    @GM Labelling and Dunstan Vavasour


    Dunstan Vavasour seems to think that modified genes, presumeably in contrast to unmodifed genes although how they are told apart isn't made clear, can, somehow, get "into" cattle which eat GM crops and, somehow, then get out of them into something else which may be us and cause some sort of harm.

    Very scary stuff this and if it was true I'd be green and getting my daily grub by photosynthesis. The trouble is some lay folk actually believe this garbage. Presumebaly the same folk who think taking glucosamine tablets makes a difference.


  19. druck Silver badge

    Organic what?

    Do the organic advocates really think that any crops grown today, organically or otherwise, are in any way natural? They are the result of thousands of generations of selective and cross breading experimentation, and are vastly different to the original wild varieties - far more so than some of the very modest changes made in the labs which are classified as GM.

  20. Jonathon

    GM and organics

    It really depends on what you or I mean by 'organic'. Personally, I do not see what is so 'natural' about an ox pulling a heavy stick through the soil to make a seedbed into which one might plant (or scatter) a load of seeds from an single plant species. There is little biodiversity in this and yet it is considered to be entirely organic by many people. lets try to grow stuff as intensively as possible on as small an area as possible and leave the rest to nature.

    Jonathon (Agronomist)

  21. David Hicklin Bronze badge

    What the problem with GM?

    All living things mutate from time to time, heck the flu virus changes so much that a new jab is needed each year.

    So what if we tinker a bit with the crops? Fewer pesticides is a Very Good thing. And is not crossing different strains of plant the same as GM...there goes all your funny coloured roses then...

    Personally I don't have a problem with GM.

  22. lglethal Silver badge

    And i for one...

    Welcome our new GM-modified plant overlords!

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