GENTECH archive


GM foods on sale not a health risk!!


Irish Times (Frontpage) 12/5/99

GM foods on sale not a 
health risk, says report 

By Kevin O'Sullivan, Environmental and Food Science Correspondent 
No genetically-modified food on sale in Ireland or the EU poses a health
risk, according to a report to be issued by the Food Safety Authority of
Ireland today, The Irish Times has learned. 
The most comprehensive independent report yet published in the State on
the genetically-modified (GM) food controversy stresses, however, that
this should not be interpreted as blanket approval of all GM foods. Nor
does the authority advocate consumption of GM foods over unmodified
It is understood the report backs a case-by-case assessment of any GM
food seeking market approval. It also underlines the importance of
clear, neutral information on the issue, to address widespread consumer
confusion and concern. 
It is understood the FSAI status paper, "Food Safety and GM Foods",
stresses that the authority is satisfied on scientific grounds that
there is no need to cease the current use of gene technology to develop
GM foods on food safety grounds. 
The FSAI is not becoming a defender of GM foods or of the multinational
companies associated with their development. The report is based on the
evaluations of its own scientists: a separate scientific committee and a
special sub-committee which assess new GM foods coming onto the market. 
The findings are a blow to campaign groups against GM foods. Human
health risk has been repeatedly cited by campaigners as grounds for a
moratorium on GM foods. 
While the report contains a comprehensive evaluation of possible food
safety risks, the FSAI has stressed its remit "is purely in the area of
food safety and it cannot consider environmental, ethical or trade
Musgrave, which controls 25 per cent of the Irish food market through
its 470 franchised Supervalu and Centra stores, has defended its policy
of not banning genetically-modified food products. Instead, Musgrave
requires clear labelling of the GM content in all Supervalu and Centra
Supervalu chief executive Mr Eoin McGettigan said: "We are not
scientists and we need to be guided. We want to give the consumer the
clear choice through clear labelling. It's a very emotive issue and we
have to stand back and take a reasoned decision."