When does offering a helping hand stray into meddling? Or a curious question become troubled uncertainty? On GM Food - Cultivating Fear (BBC1 , 8.30pm, 8 June) Panorama found the GM debate is full of blurred lines.
It’s odd, because the first GM plant was created by scientists way back in 1983. And it hit supermarket shelves in the US in 1994, courtesy of a ripe and juicy red tomato produced by a company called Calgene (later bought by Monsanto, a GM cheerleader). So after 21 years, why the lingering doubt?
Presenter Tom Heap was found wanting when it came to dispelling that doubt, despite finding plenty of erudite experts to offer reassurance that GM is fine. He sided heavily with them at times.
Yet the other extreme warns of a cancer-causing catastrophe waiting to happen. And the persistent inconclusiveness is concerning because GM has seeped into many typical foodstuffs since 1994, despite committed opposition.
So what’s the truth? Who knows. Cold hard evidence would be welcome considering we absorb GM into our bodies but definitive answers don’t exist, other than there is lots of money in it and it feels freaky.
What is true is there isn’t enough food to go around in developing countries. And watching the once-hungry tucking into plates of purple aubergines and fluffy rice was a powerful argument that GM is an effective solution to the unreliability of Mother Nature in that particular situation. And if you have a choice to boycott GM on perfectly understandable ideological grounds, count yourself lucky.