SnowBall archive


GE - Three year GM ban not enough, secretpaper shows

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH: Three year GM ban not enough, secret
paper shows

March 18, 1999

M2 PRESSWIRE via NewsEdge Corporation : * Leaked Government document
confirms need for
five year freeze

A leaked document released today by Friends of the Earth flatly contradicts
Downing Street denials
that the Government is involved in a "secret deal " with the biotech
industry over genetically-
modified (GM) food and crops. The Government document outlines the "current
position " on GM crops and confirms the Government is working to extend the
current voluntary 1
year moratorium for a further 2 years (ie to 3 years). The paper says that
"officials in DETR and
MAFF will work as quickly as possible to finalise the details of this new
voluntary agreement and
prepare an announcement".

The paper also shows that a proposed three year moratorium on GM crops will
not be long enough
to assess their environmental impact. The document says that farm scale
evaluations, due to start
this month "will run for 3-4 years " but due to lack of resources and lack
of seed there won't be
enough data to be "scientifically sound" for the first year.

The leaked paper also reveals that:

* if the companies have the necessary permissions they would be permitted
to sell the seeds to
farmers and the "farmers would be able to exploit the harvested produce".

* "The UK's voluntary agreement with industry, keep us clear of any legal
dispute with the European

Tony Juniper, Policy Director at Friends of the Earth said: "The Government
has promised that there
will be no commercial planting of GM crops until scientific research shows
that they are safe. If
research will not be completed for up to four years and will not begin in
earnest until next year, then
a voluntary three year ban is irrelevant. It adds nothing of substance to
what we have already been
told and appears more geared to influencing public opinion than the date of
first commercialisation
of GM crops."




<<M2 PRESSWIRE -- 03/17/99>>

[Copyright 1999, M2 Communications]