Genes on the menu: facts for knowledge-based decisions

Genes on the menu: facts for knowledge-based decisions 
Paul Pechan and Gert de Vries 
Berlin, Germany: Springer Verlag | 2005 | 217pp | ?23.00 (HB) | ISBN 3540201785
Reviewed by Dennis Rouvray 

This book makes its appearance against the backdrop of a titanic and ominous battle on the future role of genetically modified (GM) organisms. In one corner is the US government along with agribiotech giants asserting that GM technology is safe until proven otherwise and that GM products should not be banned just because people are unwilling to eat them.  

In the other corner is the EU together with an alliance of NGOs ranging from Oxfam to Greenpeace that feel equally strongly that no GM products can be allowed to be marketed until their safety has been established beyond reasonable doubt.  

Polls reveal that over two-thirds of Europeans are convinced that GM produce is unsafe to consume. 

Since the battle lines have long since been drawn, it is somewhat surprising that this book sets out to do no more than deliver ’state-of-the-art facts in order to empower the public to make knowledge-based decisions about plant biotechnology, GM crops and GM food’.  

It would have been much better if the book had taken sides rather than continually remind us that it is up to politicians and government departments to encourage, monitor and enforce properly regulated agricultural practices.