Calling the activist-oriented Precautionary Principle “a recipe for paralysis,” Lord Robert May addressed the British Royal Society last week on the pros and cons of genetically improved foods. Lord May correctly noted that “no adverse effects” from eating these foods “have yet been identified, whereas benefits from reduced pesticide use have been demonstrated.” May was the UK government’s chief scientific advisor from 1995 to 2000, and now serves as the Royal Society’s president; his comments were excerpted in The Guardian.

And what of the ballyhooed but elusive environmental threats supposedly posed by biotech crops? Science reporter Mark Henderson also heard Lord May’s speech, and shares this tidbit in the London Times: “exotic plants commonly sold in garden centers pose a much greater threat to Britain’s natural environment than any genetically modified crop.” Lord May, he writes, suggested that environmental questions “should center on appropriate uses of the new technology, rather than on visceral rejection of the technology itself.”