Archived news articles - 2005

GMAC Press Release, 25 January 2005

Public forum on genetically modified foods
"We are What We Eat" - truths & fallacies of bioengineered foods

5th Feb 2005 (Saturday), 10.30am
Lecture Theatre 3A/B, Matrix, Biopolis

"Will I turn green if I ate them?”
“Why are the cooking oils more yellow than they used to be? Are they genetically modified?”
“I see durians sold in the shops all year round. Are durians now genetically modified too?”

These are some of the questions the Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC) received in 2004. Strange as these questions may seem, they reflect the public’s unfamiliarity and, perhaps, lack of real understanding of what genetic modification (GM) and genetically modified foods are.

To address these concerns and to stimulate discussion of related issues, GMAC will be organizing a public forum on bioengineered foods. It will be chaired by Prof Lee Sing Kong, GMAC Deputy Chairman and Chairman for Subcommittee for Public Awareness. The forum will also feature a keynote lecture by a renowned professor of plant biotechnology, Prof C.S. Prakash from the USA.

The forum is one of the initiatives of the Subcommittee for Public Awareness to reach out to the public to enhance awareness of GM technology and GM foods. At the same time, the forum also aims to expose the Singapore public to international scientists and experts on plant biotechnology.

GMAC invites all members of the public to attend the forum.

Keynote Lecture
Genetically modified (GM) crops, also known as bioengineered crops, have been commercially available for over 2 decades, since the Flavr-Savr tomato hit supermarket shelves in the United States in 1994. They have made significant impacts on food production in 18 countries and are grown by over 8 million farmers worldwide. Yet, there remain varying levels of receptiveness to the use of the technology and the consumption of those crops. Despite strong regulatory measures and many scientific evidences indicating otherwise, many are still cautious of consuming GM foods.

The keynote lecture will address the probable causes for such societal anxieties, such as consumer unfamiliarity, lack of reliable information on current safeguards, steady streams of negative opinions in the media, opposition by activist groups, growing mistrust of industry and a general lack of awareness of how our food production system have evolved over time.

The Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC), a non-profit, multi-agency advisory committee was set up in April 1999 to oversee and advise on the research and development, production, use, handling and release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), ensuring that these are done in compliance with international standards. GMAC will continue to develop and approve biosafety guidelines regarding GMOs, as well as facilitate the harmonisation of guidelines with international authorities. GMAC has, since, expanded its role to take on creation and enhancement of public awareness on GMOs and GM-related issues.

Issued by GMAC

For more information, please contact :

GMAC Secretariat