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Future foods: The GM debate

 Rodomiro Ortiz, CIMMYT Director of Resource Mobilization, participated in a live debate on genetically modified (GM) foods at the British Science Museum’s Dana Center on 22 January 2009. The event was webcast live as part of a CGIAR sponsored exhibition on “future foods” that opened in December 2008 and will run through May 2009. There will also be two other public debates on issues related to sustainable seafood and agriculture and climate change.

“A lot of opposition to GMOs stems for fear of the unknown, the fear that something might go wrong,” said Rodomiro Ortiz. “I’m not saying we shouldn’t be concerned about potential risks, but we need to balance the risks and the benefits. And this is a decision society as a whole needs to discuss,” said Ortiz.

The panel of experts participating also included Bob Watson, DEFRA Chief Scientific Adviser; Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University, London; and Ian Sample, Science Correspondent, the Guardian, who acted as facilitator.

The Museum’s website raised some debate topics such as the potential need for GM technology to help feed the developing world and consumers’ right not to buy GM food and whether or not this ultimately contributes to world hunger.

For more information on the “food” events or to watch an online video of the debate visit: http://www.danacentre.org.uk/events/2009/01/22/482#videos