UNIT 1. 1F, page 9
Leo Did you watch that documentary about the latest advances in genetically modified food? They’ve
developed a way of genetically adapting pigs so that they produce low-fat bacon.
Rosie Well, I won’t be eating it.
Leo Why not? What’s the big fuss about GM food?
Rosie It’s unknown territory. We don’t know enough about what effects it may have on the human body. You know, they talk about how GM food could affect our digestion, cause allergies, that sort of thing.
Leo There’s a lot of controversy around it, but no actual evidence to prove that GM food does us any harm.
Rosie I don’t agree with that argument, I’m afraid. There may be no evidence right now, but it’s the longterm effects that I’m concerned about.
Leo Well any change has potential consequences. You could make exactly the same argument against mobile phones, or any new technology. Of course they may have harmful side effects but you have to weigh those up against their huge benefits.
Rosie Like what?
Leo For a start, it could help solve the world food crisis, by creating food crops which can tolerate extreme agricultural conditions, like droughts or floods. It can help farmers in developing countries produce more food.
Rosie Er, no, starvation in developing countries isn’t about the quantity of food produced – it’s just that it is not distributed to the right places. So that argument doesn’t make sense – try another one!
Leo All right, that’s a fair point I suppose ... but what about using GM food to fight malnutrition? Surely you can’t disapprove of that?
Rosie All right, give me an example.
Leo Well, in some parts of Africa and Asia there are thousands of people suffering from blindness caused by a lack of vitamin A. Now there’s a new type of rice which has been engineered to contain massive amounts of vitamin A. So there you are ... problem solved!
Rosie Yeah, these are good intentions, but not if we end up poisoning people in the long run. I
don’t know, I just find the whole thing unnatural. I don’t think we have a right to ‘play God’ in this way.
Leo I see what you mean. But to be honest with you, people have been crossing breeds for hundreds of years. It’s just the methods that are new.
Rosie Well, I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree here ... Anyway, talking about food, what shall we ...?
3 tolerate extreme
4 disapprove of
5 long run
6 to disagree
1 h ✓
3 d ✓
4 a ✓
5 b ✓