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2-Plants: Britain's biggest farmer pulls out of gene trials

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Britain's biggest farmer pulls out of gene trials 

LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) - Britain's biggest farmer has decided not to 
take part in proposed new field trials of genetically modified crops. 
"Few people would disagree that what is required are properly conducted 
scientific trials to assess the environmental impact of GM crops," the 
Co-operative Wholesale Society, which farms over 80,000 acres throughout 
Britain, said in a statement. However we feel there is yet no clear 
consensus of opinion amongst the various interest groups as to how this 
should be achieved, and so we have decided not to take part," said Head 
of Corporate Affairs Bill Shannon. We are not against GMOs (Genetically 
Modified Organisms) in principle, but our discussions with various 
parties led us to conclude that the design of this year's trials would do 
little to allay current environmental and consumer concerns." CWS is part 
of the UK consumer co-operative movement, with businesses ranging from 
supermarkets to funeral parlours. It was set up by the retail 
co-operatives in the 19th century. Britain plans tests aimed at assessing 
the wider impact of genetically modified crops on the environment. The 
trials will look at the effect of crops scaled up from flower-bed or 
handkerchief sized plots to whole field size. Fresh controversy over GM 
foods was sparked in Britain last month when international scientists 
backed scientist Arpad Pusztai, who claimed his research showed damage to 
rats fed on genetically modified potatoes. 

-| Hartmut Meyer
-| Co-ordinator
-| The European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering
-| Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51
-| D - 37083 Goettingen
-| Germany
-| phone: #49-551-7700027
-| fax  : #49-551-7701672
-| email:

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