Farmer's Weekly: FSA accused of helping GM industry

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at
Sat May 29 23:00:08 BST 2010

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FSA accused of helping GM industry

Farmer's Weekly On-line, Friday 28th May 2010

The government’s food safety watchdog has been accused of spending £500,000 on 
a PR exercise on behalf of the GM crop industry.

Helen Wallace, director of campaign group GeneWatch UK, has resigned from a 
Food Standards Agency steering group tasked with shaping and managing a public 
dialogue on food and the use of GM technology.

Dr Wallace said evidence unearthed through Freedom of Information requests had 
convinced her that the “FSA process was set up from the outset to provide free 
“reputation management” to the GM industry at taxpayers’ expense”.

In a resignation letter she said: “The FSA appears to actively engaged in 
trying to use the so-called dialogue to implement the industry’s PR strategy: 
focusing on a non-existent positive future where new GM crops will ‘feed the 
world’, whilst lobbying to end the segregation of GM and non-GM food and feed 
entering Britain and Europe, and opposing the labelling of meat and dairy 
products produced using GM feed.”

The FSA set up the steering group to organise a public dialogue on the use of 
genetic modification.

It wants to find ways to discuss with members of the public their understanding 
of GM in food and what they think are its potential risks and benefits.

The dialogue will also allow the FSA to identify what information people need 
and want in order to make confident, informed choices about the food they eat.

Dr Julian Little, chair of the pro-GM Agricultural Biotechnology Council 
accused GeneWatch of using its withdrawal as a PR stunt to scaremonger and 
promote unfounded myths.

“Food security is a global issue and one that the UK cannot turn its back on.  
We need to increase food production in a sustainable way and we should all be 
working together to find the best solutions, rather than have tit-for-tat 
arguments that are not addressing the pressing public policy challenges we 

"We stand by the need for GM to be presented as an option within the wider 
context of food security as part of the solution to a growing population. 

"With that in mind, we look forward to the day when consumers are able to vote 
with their wallets on this subject and when farmers are able to access the 
tools they need to produce high quality affordable food in the face of climate 
change and resource depletion.”

- -- 

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nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
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God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burroughs, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

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