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ABC's Catalyst GM programme
ABC's Catalyst GM programme
ABC's Cataylst programme adds to the confusion

Last night, the ABC’s Catalyst screened a special on genetically modified food.
If you missed the show, watch it now
As you can see, there are many holes in the arguments of the pro-GM industry spokespeople. 
But the most glaring error is Catalyst’s confusion between genetic modification and other types of plant breeding.  As one of Australia’s leading commentators on science, they have a responsibility to get it right.

The Catalyst host Dr Maryanne Demasi introduced last night's program saying that:

“There seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes to genetic modification. A little known fact is that that virtually everything we eat has been genetically modified in some way. Even organic food, so what’s all the fuss about? Well apparently it is all in the definition.”

Indeed it is. But Catalyst got the scientific definition of a genetically modified organism (GMO) wrong.

The next interview in the program was Peter Langridge from the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) arguing that we have been doing genetic modification for centuries. Langridge says that this is different from genetic engineering.
This is untrue. A CSIRO fact sheet which is linked to from the Catalyst website says that genetic modification and genetic engineering are the same thing.
Australia’s Gene Technology Act clearly defines and regulates “genetically modified organisms” in order to separate them from other plants and animals.  The European Union and the World Health Organisation also use definitions that separate this technology from natural and traditional breeding.

The European Union also clearly explains that genetically modified organism (GMO) means "an organism in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination."

Catalyst got the science wrong. In doing so, they confused the issue further.

Unfortunately, the ABC’s online forum after the show was cancelled. But you can have your say now by writing to the producers to let them know that you expect better science from Catalyst.
Or even better, help set the public record straight. Write a letter to your local newspaper and help get rid of the confusion over GM foods once and for all.

Genetic engineering (GE or GM) is not natural, not needed, and not wanted. Say No to GM Wheat now

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