British scientists push for government to relax GMO barriers

Many people are pretty fed up with the continuing fuss about GM food and crops. There have been innumerable reviews and many open debates. How does the recently published letter from the Council for Science and Technology to the government help?

The focus of the debate was on the meal from GM soy beans, which the regulatory committee had recommended to ministers to be safe. The genetic modification of the soy bean was modest – no more than the introduction of two genes from a common soil bacterium. But this product was rejected by consumers.

There was a strong reaction against what was perceived as the economic hegemony of a large US multinational company and their unwillingness to label or to separate the new product from non-GM versions, so that consumers had no choice. Consumers objected to this perceived loss of control. Plus, GM soy offered the consumer no advantage. The advantage went to the farmer and seed producer – there was little incentive for them to buy it.

The UK should continue to call loudly for science and evidence-based decision-making on this issue – it’s clear that scientific consensus in both Britain and Europe calls for a relaxation of the strict barriers to GM crops.

Read the full, original article: GM crops: time to counter the scare stories and relax barriers

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