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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

MPs GM report

Comment (26 Feb 2015)

Press contact Liz O'Neill, 0845 217 8992, liz[at]gmfreeze.org

Commenting on the Science and Technololgy Committee’s report Advanced genetic techniques for crop improvement: regulation, risk and precaution, GM Freeze Director Liz O’Neill, who gave evidence to the committee and is quoted in the report said:

The Science and Technology Select Committee is keen to focus on the traits created by genetic modification rather than the process itself, but genetic modification is not “cut and paste” with DNA. There is much that can go wrong so it is entirely appropriate that crops produced by this complex process should be carefully scrutinised before being released into our environment and onto our plates. What’s more, the crops waiting in line for approval in the EU all share the GM traits that are associated with declining wildlife and flourishing superweeds in the USA so if you’re talking about commercial GM crops you’re talking about those traits.

The report goes on to suggest a change in terminology to accommodate various new techniques but any attempt to artificially engineer DNA can cause unexpected and unpredictable effects. Many of the techniques mentioned in the report are so new that there is not sufficient information to properly assess risk, never mind abandon scrutiny altogether by giving them a name that isn’t covered by current legislation.

Beyond all the technical debate, it is shocking to read committee chair Andrew Miller MP’s remarks implying that concerns “based on values” are a distraction. Surely the values of a nation lie at the very heart of how it chooses to take care of its countryside and feed its people?

Read GM Freeze’s written evidence to the committee

Read the committee press release and the full report