Food

Biotechnology - confusion, fear and protest

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On the 26th of June 2000 researchers announced that they had finally created a rough map of the human genome - almost 3 billion DNA letters. In December 2000 British MPs voted to allow scientists to collect cells from human embryos and to substitute a nuclei from an adult cell into embryo cells for research purposes. These sorts of developments leave many people confused and frightened. The BSE, and Foot and Mouth, crises have left people wondering are scientists and governments to be trusted in these areas. There has been a consumer revolt against Genetically Altered foods and activists have rushed to pull up genetically altered crops. So what's all this about? Is it any use to anyone or just another example of big science and big business going mad at our expense?

Meat 'n' Veg 'n' Microlivestock

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Vegetarianism and environmentalism often go hand in hand. This is partly because the consumption of large livestock has itself an effect on the environment. It takes seven pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef - if we were all to become vegetarian, so the argument goes, much less land would have to be used for agriculture. This is true to a certain extent, but the grain:meat ratio leaves out many things. For example, a cow produces not just meat, but milk, leather and dung (a fertiliser, soil stabiliser, and even fuel source). Wool, feathers and eggs are all useful 'by-products' of animal husbandry that have to taken into account.

Hurricane Mitch - banana corporations Chiquita and Dole lay off workers

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"We're screwed by the government, then we get blind sided by the hurricane, then the company lays us off"

LAST NOVEMBER Central America was hit by a devastating hurricane. The floods that followed were to claim thousands of lives as well as destroying huge amounts of agricultural crops, housing and communications infrastructure.

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