Vatican believes GM food could solve world hunger
The Vatican has surprised opponents of genetically modified foods by declaring they hold the answer to world starvation and malnutrition.
Until Sunday's statement the Vatican had been neutral in the European Union-US confrontation over GM food.
Archbishop Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said the Vatican is preparing an official report on biotechnology, to be published next month, which will come down in favour of genetic modification. The document will coincide with a debate on GM by EU farm ministers.
Archbishop Martino said the Pope is greatly interested in new technologies for food development as part of a policy of sustainable agriculture. He noted that 24,000 people died every day from starvation.
Archbishop Martino, who until last year was the Vatican representative at the UN, said he had lived for 16 years in the US "and I ate everything that was offered to me, including genetically modified products. They had no effect on my health. This controversy is more political than scientific."
The Vatican study will argue that the future of humanity is at stake and that there is no room for the ideological arguments advanced by environmentalists.
One Vatican official said: "The Book of Genesis clearly establishes the domination of man over nature. God has entrusted mankind to preserve nature but also to use it."
Vatican to Get Experts to Assess Crops (AP)
Pope likely to give blessings to GM food (Bangkok Post)
Indian bishop warns on GM as crop fails (7/4/03)
Vatican official says GM food "no big deal" (18/12/02)
Genetically Modified Food: The Impending Disaster Statement of the Catholic Bishops of South Africa (14/11/01)
5 Aug 2003