GM is a technology we have to adopt - Food and Drink Federation

THE UK must be bold and ‘grasp the nettle’ over GM, farming industry representatives were told at the EFFP conference in London today (Tuesday).

GM is a tool which farmers should be able to use, as they work to increase food production with less resources and in the face of increased disease pressure.

President of the Food and Drink Federation, Jim Moseley, said:

“It is unlikely that manufacturers will put their heads above the parapet on GM. But my concern from a sustainability issue and in terms of the ability of this market to grow its export business, is that GM is a technology we have to adopt.

“But we have to prove that it is safe.

“We would be encouraging the Food Standards Agency to start their evidence based debate around the safety of this technology.”

Sheila Dillon from the BBC’s Food Programme agreed safety data was ‘lacking’.

But NFU president Peter Kendall added:

“There is also not a shred of evidence to suggest that GM is not safe.”

Mr Kendall said that after such a poor harvest this year and resulting low quality crops, bio-technology would become more important as disease pressure continues to take its toll.

Readers' comments (4)

  • GMO crops are dangerous to the environment because they are alien species (alien to the environment in which they are released). The consequeces of releasing alien species can not be predicted but can include damage to crops and biodiversity. Examples in the UK include rabbits, japanese bindweed and grey squirells and these were natural alien species. Farmers beware - the consequences of releasing GMOs are even more unforseable and potentially disastrous.

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  • The article is bang on.

    And John Byng is bang off. The last time I looked, there were about 1500 native UK plant species and more than 3000 immigrants - all over the place: look at rhododendrons.

    And don't forget the animals: humans, after all, are an "alien species" in the UK as everywhere also[ so are cows and horses and sheep. None of us was there when the country was first formed; we are all immigrants. So what.

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  • it is good asking for Biotech. but not for GM tech. The GM tech is a part of Biotech. wherein several methods to combat the pests and diseases are possible. However if GM tech needed for UK which crops needed. Please note when the season/climate change occures the GM tech will fail. The quite evidance U can see from the India which is largest agriculture country wherein even today 70% lies i/dies in agriculture of the indian population. Where in in recent yrs it is a success country and sustainable economy because of agro-economy which we innovated as >> Agroeconomy is super economy under Transitional economy<< eg. India --after takeing into Global research on world Transitional counbtries.

    Therefore it is to be addressed correctly.
    Now good Biotech research going on in Norwich , and other institutes in UK which was funded by even Bill gate foundation etc to develop and fix the atomos. N2 for crops.

    Like that the pest systems management can be combated too.

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  • We can be world leaders in biotech without using GM. There is nothing 'new' about genetic engineering. It's over 20 years old, and is being over taken by much better techniques like marker assisted selection, which allows optimum gene selection for yield and stress tolerance without having to manually disrupt the genome.
    The only GM traits that are commonly grown globally are either herbicide tolerance- which has led to increased pesticide use. Or pesticide producing plants, which are all now known to have created insect resistance everywhere they are employed.
    Are these outdated, blunt tools really what British agriculture need? Why is Kendall hell bent on forcing this technology down our throats? There is huge consumer resistance to GM, concerns over environmental impacts, worries about improper testing and evidence of depressed yields- what on earth would we want to adopt a technology like that for?
    We have the best plant science centres in the world, can we stop investing umpteen millions into this clunky and inaccurate technology? Get these centres to work on agro-ecological techniques to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and move away from the controversial and environmentally damaging genetic engineering.

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