Interview with WBCSD:

by Amandine Dupont, Stéphanie Favre, Nina Probst, 2CA


" We become what we eat, by eating genetically modified organisms will we become genetic products ? "

Would you agree with the above statement ? How do you feel about it ?

Christine :

I agree to some extent with the first part of the statement.

For the second part I cannot really tell you how I feel because I do not know enough about it. I certainly would not want to buy such products.

David :

We do not become what we eat. Our way of life influences our food habits and nowadays we do not have enough time to think about our food and ask where it comes from (I am thinking here of a 30 year-old-single, for instance).

When you eat you do not really care about what you eat (example : in a restaurant you do not ask for information about the food they serve you).

If we had more time we would make choices.

The English lady :

It is not important what you eat. If we take vitamins regularly we do not have to care about our food. I am against GMO because I think it is very bad to mix animals and plants (example : pumpkins mixed with the genes of a hamster).

The Canadian lady :

I am against it, it depends on how far we want to go. Here we are talking about important factors like quantity : for instance it is said that one glass of wine every day is very good for your health, an exaggerated wine consumption, however, has the opposite effect.

Do you think that the information for the consumers is sufficient ? Can we trust the information on the labels ?

Christine :

If you really want to get the information you want you will be able to get it (internet). The information that is available for the consumers is highly commercial, however you can trust the labelling. On the other hand the colouring materials used in certain products can be modified and this is not mentioned on the labels. Whatever is not obvious is not put on the label.

The Canadian lady :

In Canada there is a plant used to make Canolos oil. This plant is highly poisonous, however it was believed that by taking away the dangerous part there would be no risk at all. As it turned out later, the poison was 10 times more harmful during the digestion period.

Scientists were aware of the fact but they did not inform the consumers due to economical reasons. This danger that the information is not passed over could also be true concerning the GMO. That is one of the reasons why we have to move on with a lot of caution and delicacy.

In addition to that there is the information badly channelled ; in the USA, for instance, scientists have discovered an oil that contains not fat. The consumers, of course, were highly pleased when they heard about that. On the other hand it was proven that the oil was harmful. The consumers were so much attracted by the information on the label " no fat " that they went on buying the product.

What are the risks of GMO in the short and in the long run ? Do we already have enough experience to foresee the risks in the long run ?

Christine :

I makes me immediately think of horror films. For me it means leaving the natural standards, aiming at horrible things and losing the things nature gives us : natural food, taste , and so on. What frightens me the most is " cloning " and whatever goes beyond natural boundaries.

The short-time results are well known but nobody knows the long-term risks and repercussions.

The Canadian lady :

In Canada we had a gelatin product that was highly recommended for babies. A few years later it was found to be very dangerous for the babyís organism.


The English lady :

This is horrible ; the present evolution goes completely against natural laws. Biotechnology destroys biodiversity. Man will choose the species he wants to take advantage of and by doing so he will make other species die out. The problem is that once a species has disappeared nothing in the world can make it come back again.

If we discovered some important risks about GMO could we stop the process ? Can we really control the risks ? Will there be consequences (for instance for the soil) ?

Christine :

We should stop it but it would be impossible because there are other applications then the ones in biotechnology. We should be able to control it but there will always be some crazy scientists who will go on with their research work.

I do think that there will be consequences for the soil.

Will there be species (animals or plants) that will die out ?

Christine :

You cannot blame biotechnology for the fact that the diversity of nature and fauna diminishes. This has happened before and with the use of pesticides the problem has become even graver. We have done a lot of damage to biodiversity, this will go on and it will go even faster.

According to your point of view how big is the proportion of GMO products on the market ?

Christine :

For the time being there are not too many but if we include the colouring matters and the preservatives the proportions get quite impressive.

At first sight you think that we talk about small quantities but then you realize that GMO products are everywhere.

How do you see the future of GMO ?

Christine :

The development is taking its course but there will be strong movements against it. The most impressive progress will be in the medical field. We are waiting for the perfect moment but it will take one or two generations until GMO is fully accepted.

David :

This is the next logical step in our evolution. Since ancient times this has gone on. We first adopted wheat, then we cultivated it and then we mixed it with other ingredients to make more bread. Biotechnology is the next step man has chosen to make.

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