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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

FSA GM Dialogue Must Put Citizens First

Immediate release (25 Nov 2009)

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065

New Survey raises concerns about political nature of latest research and new public “dialogue”

GM Freeze has expressed deep concern as to why the FSA should ask the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) [1] to “explore the circumstances in which people change their views” on GM crops.

This was one of the objectives of research published today by the FSA ahead of the first meeting of the Steering Committee for the FSA’s GM public dialogue.

Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:

The FSA is supposed to be at arm’s length from government and act in the interest of food safety on behalf of UK citizens. Exploring “the circumstances in which people change their views” on GM is a step too far – the FSA appears to be doing the work of the Government, which does not always coincide with the wishes of UK citizens.

The results to the NatCen research highlighted that the public is skeptical about GM food for a variety of reasons and want clear labels so they can choose whether to buy products made using GM technology, including meat, dairy products and eggs, which are currently not labelled in the UK. If Government and political parties want to know how to change public opinion, they should pay for the research themselves and not involve the public’s food safety watch dog. They have made an serious error in judgment in asking NatCen to explore this area, and the FSA should now not be part of the new public dialogue.

The GM Dialogue will look at a very small part of the food chain – GM – which has already been done several times, most recently by NatCen’s research. So why bother again? And why not look at other vital issues such as food security? The GM Public Dialogue is about the wrong issue, organised by the wrong body, and we see no justification for more public money being spent on this. If it goes ahead, the Steering Committee must be allowed to conduct it free of government influence and interference.


[1] See