Madame Chairperson, Adjudicators, Members of the opposition, fellow team - mates, members of the floor .
As Sinead already informed you I aim to encourage you to dispel the myths surrounding GM food, which are no more than propaganda created by anti-GM activists. I am also going to outline the rigorous safety screenings and tests are conducted to ensure that GM Crops are every bit as safe as organically grown produce and as such should be used to combat world hunger. .
I'm sure we all remember the story of the emperor who was much admired by his courtiers when he paraded in his new clothes. They had all been taken in by the scheming tailors who claimed that their clothes were of such fine quality that only those with the most refined taste could appreciate them.
Now you may ask yourselves how is a children's fairy tale relevant to the debate at hand; you see like all good fairy tales this one tells us much about the frailty of human nature, particularly our readiness to believe the most fantastic claims if the marketing is good enough. This is the root of the problem when it comes to public perception of GM Foods, the propaganda being spread about is powerful, convincing stuff but is in the majority of cases based on myths, rumours and misconceptions. .
Whilst researching this debate I read numerous examples of such propaganda. For example the apocryphal story of "people made sick by a brazil nut gene transferred into soya" has become a highly publicised and widely believed urban myth. In fact, such a product never came on the market, and despite claims to the contrary nobody ever ate any such product.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is only one of example of many false cases reported. Now, I am not so nave as to argue that GM is infallible in its current experimental stage; it has flaws just as organic or conventional food does because - as Sinéad said, it is still experimental and there are risks to be taken.