info4action archive



FOE press release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday 2nd September 1999
> A key Government Committee has admitted that any attempt to monitor the
> health effects of GM food on the British public is likely to fail.
> Friends of the Earth have described the latest plans from the
> Government's Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes [1] as
> "scraping the bottom of the barrel".
> Earlier this year, Friends of the Earth revealed Government plans to use
> data from supermarket loyalty cards to track patterns of GM food
> consumption and relate them to possible health effects. All the major
> supermarkets responded to our story by stating that they would not
> co-operate with the proposal. At its meeting today, ACNFP agreed to
> carry out an 18 month feasibility study into the how consumption of GM
> food could be related to possible health effects. But the Committee
> conceded that any small or subtle health effects could be missed by such
> a broad study. (A copy of the ACNFP paper is available from FOE Press
> Office)
> Several members of the Committee made reference to the possible use of
> supermarket loyalty cards  with the holders permission.  Supermarket
> Chief Executives may be subject to "Ministerial approaches" to seek
> their co-operation in providing sales data on a regional basis. Health
> data likely to be used include cancer and mortality rates, birth related
> events and GP monitoring data.
> Commenting, Pete Riley, Senior Campaigner on Biotechnology at Friends of
> the Earth, said:
> "The ACNFP don't seem to have noticed that nearly all major supermarkets
> and food manufacturers have decided not to stock GM food.
> What the public want is GM-free food, not woolly proposals to monitor
> any health effects after GM foods have already been eaten. Post
> marketing monitoring is not a substitute for proper research before GM
> food is released into the human food chain. The Government seems content
> to use the UK population in an uncontrolled experiment. Supermarkets
> seem more in touch with public opinion than these so called safety watch
> dogs"
> [1]     A sub committee of the ACNFP met at MAFF on Thursday 2nd
> September at 10.30. The meeting was chaired by ACNFP chair Janet
> Bainbridge. The group originally proposed using supermarket loyalty
> cards to track GM food health effects in March 1998. The latest meeting
> was to review new proposals after supermarkets rejected the idea in
> earlier this year.
> --
> "The idea that public transport has become more expensive since we came
> into office is not the case, certainly with regard to the tube and the
> buses. Over the last two years fares have risen no more than RPI (Retail
> Price Index) plus three".
> "Aeroplanes are very carefully controlled. They are not allowed to fly
> below a certain height - except on landing".
> Glenda Jackson
> Candidate for Mayor of London
> BBC Online
> 25th August 1999
> Note: This site was rapidly amended, on 26th August, but much of the
> flavour of the original is still preserved ...
> --
> Telephone:      0207 566 1657 (w)
>                 0385 236974 (mobile: jointly with Neil Verlander)
> Pager:          01523 703587
> Fax:            0207 490 0881
> ----------------------
> Any personal opinions do not necessarily reflect the policy of Friends
> of the Earth, particularly in so far as they concern politicians with
> whom we may have to do business in future.

"When you look at Europe, you get depressed, you really get depressed,"
said Jim Hershey, an international marketing director for the American
Soybean Association in St. Louis.