A plant pathologist is warning the world is in a crisis because of genetic engineering, but people are not yet aware of it.
Purdue University emeritus professor Dr Don Huber from Idaho is an expert in soil-borne plant disease and its effect on human health.
He is speaking at the Food Matters Conference in Wellington this weekend, along with scientists, researchers and chefs from around the world and New Zealand, who specialise in agriculture, food safety, policy development and ecosystem sustainability.
Professor Huber will discuss the impact of genetic engineering and its effect and impacts on soil, crops, animals and human health.
He said he had serious concerns for what genetic engineering of plants and food is doing to soils and people.
"We've failed to recognise what this process is that we call genetic engineering. Genetic engineering as its practice today is based on fossil science, it's based on the concept that you have one gene and one function, we abandoned that over 35 years ago because our understanding had improved.
"What we have today in our commercial genetic engineering is really more like a virus infection, that it is a breeding programme, it has very little similarity to a natural breeding programme or hybridisation programme."
Professor Huber said diseases which were once rare have increased over time because of genetic engineering.
"I can still remember when corn used to be the most healthy crop you could grow. Now it's common to have two or three applications of pesticides applied to corn, the same thing to wheat, the same thing to others and you have to ask yourself what's changed, why this drastic change in the health of everything on the planet? And it all comes back to the fact that we've disrupted the integrity of the genetic code."