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Pandora's Picnic Basket: The Potential and Hazards of Genetically Modified Foods

by Alan McHughen (Author)



Editorial Reviews

Throughout the developed world, debate is raging over the use of genetically
modified (GM) food and food additives. This debate, Canadian agricultural
scientist McHughen holds, is not well-informed. "Everyone, it seems, is
concerned about GM food," he writes, "but most admit they don't really know much
about it." This is especially true in North America, where millions of acres of
GM crops are now produced and GM foods are widely consumed, although it is no
less true of Europe, where production and consumption alike are comparatively low.

McHughen recognizes that some of these concerns are well-founded, even if the
discussion is not, and his book is a thoughtful examination of some of the basic
scientific issues involved in whether genetic modification may turn out to yield
harmful (or, conversely, beneficial) results. These issues, he goes on to say,
are of two broad kinds: first, whether a GM product is safe for the environment,
and whether it can be prevented from "escaping" into nature; and second, whether
a GM product is safe for the animal or human consumer. His answers may not
always please activists on either side of the issue, for he suggests that while
in the main GM production is likely to be a good thing, particularly in areas of
the world where agricultural yields are low, there may yet be unanticipated
risks involved--especially because "nature has no plan for agricultural systems
based on high chemical inputs and low biodiversity." --Gregory McNamee

From Library Journal
Fulfilling his promise to teach rather than preach, McHughen opens with a
discussion of the basics of genetic modification technology before putting this
technology within the larger contexts of food and environmental safety, risk
assessment, corporate operations, politics, and ethics. First learning the
basics will require some effort on the part of many readers, but McHughen is
convinced that the scientific concepts are not that difficult for ordinary,
interested people to comprehend. This is a refreshing approach to a subject
often treated by the media and others with sensationalism, wild speculations,
and rumors of "Frankenfoods." McHughen's qualifications are outstanding. He is a
senior research scientist at the University of Saskatchewan, chair of the
International Biosafety Advisory Committee of the Genetics Society of Canada,
and developer of his own genetically modified organism, linseed. His emphasis
here is on the United States, Canada, Britain, and Europe. McHughen covers some
of the same ground as Stephen Nottingham's Eat Your Genes (LJ 7/98), but he
focuses more on the technology while Nottingham reports on industry,
governmental, and regulatory developments. For public and academic libraries.


Product Details

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; (September 14, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0198506740

 

 

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