Science Review ambivalent
about GM Crops; food safety section drafted by Monsanto
UK government Science Review reported on 21 July 2003.
The food safety section of the report was written by Monsanto.
Unsurprisingly this says that human health is at a "very low" risk
from the current generation genetically modified (GM) crops.
In the House of Commons on Thursday 17 July, Joan Ruddock MP asked the new
Environment Minister Elliot Morley if he was concerned that the food safety
section had been written by a Monsanto employee. Morley did not reply.
On biodiversity, the report is clear: "Unquestionably, the largest
gap in our knowledge is the impact that GM Herbicide Tollerant cropping would
have on biodiversity.
...and it admits that for pest resistant GM crops: "Agronomically
realistic ecological studies comparing the impacts on biodiversity of the use
of GM pest resistant crops with conventional insecticidal crop treatments
should be undertaken for any GM pest-resistant crops that are being considered
for commercial release in the EU. This research will be needed in future if
lectins, protease inhibitors and other endotoxins are introduced into
commercial [GM]crops especially for industrial end-use. "
21 July 2003
News 21 July: NO BLANKET APPROVAL FOR GM CROPS: There is no scientific case
for ruling out all genetically modified crops and their products. That was the
findings of a GM Science Review Panel published today. But the experts said the
results of its full and open review of the current scientific knowledge on GM
crops and foods does not give them blanket approval. The report emphasised that
GM was not a single homogenous technology and its applications needed to be
considered on a case-by-case basis.
Today programme 21 July @ 06:50: Michael Meacher calls on UK government to
invoke Precautionary Principle, as allowed under EU legislation, and not allow
commercialisation of GM crops before rigorous health and environmental tests
have been carried out and have found no risk.
Guardian 21 July: it will take more than GM technology to
solve the problem of world hunger. "It's always going to take more than
just GM technology, but it can and is making a real contribution to these
countries that need it most," says Clive James, ISAAA
BBC 21 July: "...there are doubts about the effect on
wildlife in the countryside. ...also ... concerns about the flow of genetic
material to non-GM crops - it may be difficult, if not impossible, to grow
certain crops because the GM genes would spread too far.
BBC 20 July: "government review of GM science is
unlikely to provide any clear answers."
Observer 20 July: Quoting former Environment Minister
Michael Meacher. "This is just a rehash of existing reports and includes
no data of systematic trials to test GM food safety. This is Iraq Mark 2: there
is no supporting evidence for action, the public don't like it and the
Government seems determined to over-rule all opposition."
Independent 20 July: "The widespread planting of GM
crops in Britain could severely damage wildlife such as birds and insects, an
expert scientific review will warn".
farm - the
independent voice of farmers 18 July: "This ambiguous response from
the Scientific Review provides insufficient justification for the Government to
override the public hostility to GM crops as confirmed by the nationwide
debates or the lack of economic benefits identified in the Strategy Unit's
'Costs & Benefits' analysis. "