The United States (US) and the European Union (EU) are boxing it out over genetically modified (GM) food. While the US thinks that genetically engineered crops are safe, resist diseases better and can provide the much-needed food in starving nations, the EU?s position is to keep it out.

The EU argues that it prefers organic , which is much healthier, explaining that the risks of GM food to health and the environment outweigh the benefits.

It says multinational biotech companies will benefit, making them dominate world food supply to squeeze out traditional farmers.

There is evidence that the US is the largest producer of GM crops, although more than a dozen countries around the world, including Argentina, Canada, China, Australia, India and Mexico, have latched onto the technology.

In Ghana, there are concerns over attempts to introduce GM food because of the long-term side effects.

If Europe is cautious about the introduction of the GM food, then our advice to the government is that it should tread cautiously in adopting the technology.

Obviously, Ghana is struggling to provide food at very reasonable and affordable prices for its citizens. It, therefore, makes sense for the authorities to latch onto a technology that helps farmers increase productivity.

We have been told that genetically engineered crops can provide the much-needed food in countries struggling to put food on the table of the people.

But the question is, do we have to adopt a technology that even more advanced countries are shying away from because of the health implications?

Genetically modified food, also known as biotech or genetically engineered food, refers to crop plants that have been modified in the laboratory to enhance desired traits such as resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content.

The US may be pushing the agenda on genetically engineered food because it may have the capacity to deal with the risks.

The Food and Drugs Administration of the US will not allow any food product on the market in the US without strict testing and approval, but we wonder whether even the US has the capacity to deal with what has been described as ?a bit of a scientific anomaly?.

The Head of the Microbiology Division of the Food Research Institute, Dr Margaret Ottah Atikpo, has said GM food is not injurious to human life.

Notwithstanding the assurances from scientists in the country and farmers? groups, the Daily Graphic advises that as a country we tread cautiously in adopting GM crops.

Scientists can assure us of our safety, but we know that the widespread application of herbicides by farmers has affected flora and fauna.

Daily Graphic Dec 13, 2013

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