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    Genetically modified food – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Is genetically modified food halachically acceptable?

    A. Genetic modification first attempted to make plants able to resist certain types of insects or herbicides. Then it moved to improve foods like rice and give them greater nutritional value in the hope that consumers would benefit.

    There were some who objected on the basis that this interfered with the way God created the world, but Jewish thinking would probably see this as man acting as a co-worker to God, and completing the Divine work of creation.

    Others asked whether genetic modification infringes the Biblical prohibition of cross-breeding species, but GM is not making hybrid species but introducing submicroscopic genes that have been reworked over and over again so that their origins have long since become unidentifiable.

    A further question is whether life or health might be adversely affected by genetic modification of foods. The answer must be that like all new developments this one needs constant monitoring for risk factors, but so far there does not appear to be any evidence of danger.

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