During the recent debate on Richmond City Council's resolution to ban the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops, a few people have suggested there was a lack of accurate information and a lot of fear-mongering around the issue.
It was implied that those who opposed GE crops were ignorant and irrational.
I am not a farmer, nor a scientist. But I have been studying this issue for two years.
Through my association with an ecosafety organization affiliated with the United Nations, I had the opportunity to speak to top-level scientists who were experts in the field and involved in setting food safety standard.
Many of them said they would not consume genetically modified foods even though they were the ones to certify them. If these experts had fears about GE products, I think it is not irrational for me to be nervous too.
I supported council's resolution because Richmond has a very important farming community and we cannot gamble on its future.
I have read reports about how the GE crops had wiped out native species in different countries and how certain undesirable elements were programmed into the GE crops although they may be considered "safe" in the narrow sense, i.e. not causing direct and immediate harm to people.
I think the resolution council has passed is rational, reasonable and balanced, and the issue has been looked at from different angles with both long and short-term impacts fully considered. It is a resolution I can proudly tell my future grandchildren that I have supported.
Coun. Chak Au Richmond