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Frankenfood or crops of the future? Gaps in the perception of GM food safety

| | August 22, 2012

Humans have always faced tricky safety problems with food because we eat plants, which are the most ingenious pesticide chemists on the planet. Plants produce an amazing panoply of chemicals to deter animals from eating them. We’ve responded biologically to this challenge by evolving chemical detoxification mechanisms in the liver.
Culturally, we’ve responded by inventing cooking and other food pre-treatments that allow us to eat dangerous foods, such as kidney beans, rapeseed oil and tapioca. We even add spice to life by adding low quantities of plant poisons to recipes to improve flavour. And we breed our crop plants to reduce toxins. In short, “natural foods” are not necessarily safe and most of our crops are not as natural selection produced them.

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