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6-Regulation: Scottish Parliament's health committee calls GE risk assessments flawed



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT'S HEALTH COMMITTEE SAY RISK ASSESSMENT OF GM
        CROPS IS FLAWED
SOURCE: Scottish Parliament, UK, News Release
DATE:   Jan 14, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT'S HEALTH COMMITTEE SAY RISK ASSESSMENT OF GM CROPS IS 
FLAWED

The full report can be viewed at:
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/official_report/cttee/health-03/her03-01-
0 1.htm

The Scottish Parliament’s Health and Community Care Committee has expressed 
concerns about the robustness of Genetically Modified (GM) crop risk 
assessment procedures in relation to public health, referring to them as 
"flawed".

In a major report, the Committee has also expressed concern about the 
monitoring procedures currently in place and has called on the Executive to 
examine the effects on human health in relation to the local population 
around GM sites.

Convener of the Committee, Margaret Smith, said:

"The focus of our Committee report is whether or not the decision to test 
GM crops in Scotland will have a negative impact on public health. Whilst 
we acknowledge that we are not qualified to deliberate definitively on the 
complex scientific questions that are raised, we have heard enough evidence 
to come to the view that the Executive’s approach has no been sufficiently 
robust.

"We would like to see the Executive take a more cautious approach when 
deciding whether to approve GM crop tests in Scotland. From the evidence we 
have taken, we believe the risk assessment procedures in relation to public 
health are flawed.

"We want to see additional tests brought in, based on the worst case 
scenario that GM crops will enter into the food chain. Protecting public 
health must remain at the forefront of the Executive’s policies and more 
must be done to monitor the health of those living around the test sites."

Three page Executive Summary available on request from the Media Office.

BACKGROUND NOTES

GM crop trials have been authorised by the Scottish Executive to take place 
at:
- Munlochy, Ross and Cromarty; Daviot, Udny, Tilliecorthy and Rothienorman 
(Aberdeenshire)
- Newport-on-Tay (Fife)
- Invergowrie (Perth and Kinross)
- Bilston and Woodhouselea (Midlothian).

All the trials authorised thus far in Scotland are of oil seed rape (OSR), 
which can be harvested and made into cooking oil. The GM oil seed rape 
currently being grown in Scotland is not intended to enter the human food 
chain. The purpose of the trials is to compare the effectiveness of a 
particular type of herbicide on GM and non-GM OSR.

The Committee took its decision to proceed with an inquiry after 
considering paper from Nicola Sturgeon MSP at its 11 September 2002 
meeting. (The paper represents the views of Nicola Sturgeon and not 
necessarily of the whole Committee.)

The Committee took evidence in public, on 13 November 2002, 20 November 
2002 and 27 November 2002. The Committee heard evidence from the following 
witnesses:
- Anthony Jackson and Linda Martin, Munlochy GM Vigil
- Dr Charles Saunders, British Medical Association
- Professor Alan Gray, Professor Janet Bainbridge, and Dr Steven Hill, 
Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE)
- Professor Tony Trewavas, and Professor Chris Lamb, Royal Society of 
Edinburgh
- Ross Finnie MSP, Minister for Environment and Rural Development, and 
Derek Bearhop, Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department
- Dr Vyvyan Howard, Liverpool University
- Dr Paul Rylott, Bayer CropScience
- Dr Geoffrey Squire, and Dr David Robinson, Scottish Crop Research 
Institute (SCRI)
- Mrs Mary Mulligan MSP, Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care, Dr 
Mac Armstrong, Chief Medical Officer, and Martin Donaghy, Scottish 
Executive Public Health Department
- Lydia Wilkie, and Elspeth McDonald, Food Standards Agency

The Committee also issued a call for evidence on 4 October 2002 inviting 
anyone with an interest to submit written evidence. Fifty organisations and 
individuals responded. In addition, 26 individuals and bodies submitted 
evidence in response to an earlier call for evidence on behalf of the 
Committee reporter.

The Transport and the Environment Committee reported to Parliament on the 
environmental implications of GM crop trials in Scotland in its 1st report 
2001.

- 1st Report 2003: Report on Inquiry into GM crops
- Executive Summary

For further information, the media contact is:
Sally Coyne: +44 131 348 5605
E-mail: sally.coyne@scottish.parliament.uk
Out of hours: +44 7669 717177

For specific committee information contact:
Jennifer Smart, Clerk to the Committee: +44 131 348 5210
E-mail: jennifer.smart@scottish.parliament.uk

For public information enquiries, please contact: +44 131 34 85000
For general enquiries, please contact +44 845 278 1999
email: sp.info@scottish.parliament.uk


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  MSPs seek GM crop trial changes
SOURCE: British Broadcasting Corporation
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/2655575.stm
DATE:   Jan 14, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


MSPs seek GM crop trial changes

Serious doubts over risk assessment procedures for genetically modified 
crop trials have been raised by Scottish parliamentarians.

They have also voiced concern over monitoring procedures and called on the 
Scottish Executive to do more to examine the effects on human health near 
GM crop trial areas.

The Scottish Parliament's Health Committee issued a report which warns that 
existing safeguards are inadequate.

GM crop trials have been under way in several parts of Scotland, sparking 
protests from environmental campaigners.

Some of the trials are designed to assess the effectiveness of a herbicide 
on two types of oilseed rape.

Committee convener Margaret Smith said: "The focus of our committee report 
is whether or not the decision to test GM crops in Scotland will have a 
negative impact on public health.

"Whilst we acknowledge that we are not qualified to deliberate definitively 
on the complex scientific questions that are raised, we have heard enough 
evidence to come to the view that the executive's approach has no been 
sufficiently robust.

"We would like to see the executive take a more cautious approach when 
deciding whether to approve GM crop tests in Scotland.

"From the evidence we have taken, we believe the risk assessment procedures 
in relation to public health are flawed."

Ms Smith added: "We want to see additional tests brought in, based on the 
worst case scenario that GM crops will enter into the food chain."

The committee said public health should be ministers' priority and there 
should be greater monitoring of the health of people who live near GM sites.



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