GM food has a role in feeding Britain: Princess Royal

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

GM has a place in feeding Britain, the Princess Royal told the BBC. Photograph courtesy of Chatham House
GM has a place in feeding Britain, the Princess Royal told the BBC. Photograph courtesy of Chatham House

Related tags: Bbc radio 4, Genetic engineering, Gm

Food produced from genetically modified (GM) crops and animals has an important role to play in feeding Britain, the Princess Royal has told the BBC, in an interview to be broadcast tomorrow (March 23).

In a preview of the wide-ranging interview heard by FoodManufacture.co.uk, the Princess Royal said: “If we are going to be better at providing food of the right value, then we have to accept genetic technology – whether you call it modification or anything else.”

While acknowledging opposition to GM, the Princess Royal added: “I do think, in the future, gene technology has got real benefits to offer – and maybe an occasional downside. But I suspect not very many.”

The Princess Royal was speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today​ and On Your Farm​ presenter Anna Hill. The presenter met the princess at Buckingham Palace to discuss food, farming and environmental opportunities in the next couple of years.

‘Genetic modification would be a bonus’

Farming in Gloucestershire, at her Gatcombe Estate the princess, who is a patron of many rural charities, said GM techniques could prove useful on her land. “I have rare breed livestock. So genetic modification would be a bonus, if I could just find a way of making them a little more robust in terms of survivability.”

But the princess acknowledged the challenges of GM. “How you define what is harmful or what is good seems to me to be rather more difficult. Most of us would argue we have been geneftically modifying food since man started to be agrarian. But everyone would say: ‘It doesn’t happen so quickly.’”

Ruling out the benefits of GM would be a mistake, she added. “And to say: ‘No, no, we must not go there’ ​[adopt GM technology] just in case, is probably a mistake.”

GM ‘would be a bonus’

“I have rare breed livestock. So genetic modification would be a bonus, if I could just find a way of making them a little more robust in terms of survivability.”

  • Princess Royal

‘Is probably a mistake’

In addition to GM technology, the princess shared her views on other aspects of science and technology in farming, biofuels, farm support and the affordability of food.

The full interview with the Princess Royal will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today​ on Thursday March 23 at 5.45am.

Meanwhile, the princess has long supported GM technology, in contrast to her brother the Prince of Wales.

In 2014 the princess told the BBC’s Countryfile​ TV programme: “It's a serious business looking after the countryside and it's a much more serious business feeding people.

"I think it​ [GM] has a role to play, to be honest. I think the claims are probably slightly greater than most of the deliverables actually are. They do add to our ability to, perhaps, be more efficient users of the land.”

Prince Charles long supported organic agriculture and has criticised the food industry for its alleged drive towards cheaper food and higher profits​.

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1 comment

they are Rare breeds because

Posted by Laurel,

they ARE the foundation genetic stock
you know Anne...the ones all the sickly /ove r and inbred commercial stock that cant survive without housing medication and "special feed".
the fact shes looking for a gene boost suggest that the big agri and idiot govt lackeys pushes to wipe out anything but their chosen bloodlines(based n bred from old lines)then tampered with..have pretty much succeeded in their goal of wiping out originator stock lines.
same as pedigree dogs have ended up weak sickly and usually unfit for the purpose they were originally bred for.Hounds that never see huge expanses to run and actually HUNT on.
the mass and totally against vet advice culling of herd of rare breeds in the slaughter over foot n mouth years back went a long way to helping limit gene pools too.
some of us have an attention span longer than a gnat.
I am truly thankful Annes NOT ever going to have the power to allow this insanity in the uk
and while Charles cops a lot of (deserved often) flack
on the NO GMO stance he IS correct.

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