Free from political interference?

We are becoming concerned at the apparent inter-relationship between GMOs, the Food Standards Agency, SEAC, BSE research and measures taken to control animal disease. It is interesting how certain names keep cropping up within the same small circle. The connection between John Krebs and the Imperial College coterie has already been noted on warmwell.

Sir John Krebs and David Byrne are also enthusiasts for GM crops. See for example

"Amid calls for more openness, delegates were assured by EU Health Commissioner David Byrne that the planned European Food Authority would be free of political interference.

.(see CNN article from January 28, 2001) But Byrne said it would be up to members of the new authority to decide whether meetings would be open to the media like those of the UK's Food Standards Agency.
The head of the new agency, Sir John Krebs, said polls showed only seven per cent of people in the UK trusted the government on food safety.
Therefore to "travel up the long hill to public trust and confidence" his agency was free of all political influence, industrial interests and published all its advice to ministers. ....
....Krebs warned delegates that discussions over food safety were largely a western luxury with commercial interests warning of the need for science to develop genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to feed the millions in the developing world. Delegates were told that expanding present-style agricultural production could only be done at the cost of polluting many of our rivers and forests.
Delegates with doubts about GMOs were told of the American minister faced with similar worries. He declared: "When we develop a tomato with a Viagra gene everyone will want to eat it." .....

Here's how Cherwell magazine reported on Krebs' appointment as first Head of the FSA:

Shock food decision

Claire Price and Clare Yeowart

The appointment of Sir John Krebs, zoology professor at Oxford, as chairman of the new EU Food Standards Agency was announced last week. The Consumers Association has expressed disappointment that the government had not appointed a "strong, credible, consumer chair" for the agency.

The professor will chair the new FSA of 500 staff which will oversee all food policy issues on a budget of £130 million. His role will be to evaluate scientific evidence and to explain the science to the public. Sir John will earn a salary of £96,000 for a four day week.

The Professor's appointment was justified by David Byrne, the Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner. He claimed that a prestigious figure was needed to give the new agency a "dependable reputation". Levels of public confidence in food safety have been low after the BSE crisis and scandals over dioxins and sewage in animal feed.

Professor Krebs admitted that he had no track record in food or consumer policy but insisted that he wanted the agency to be "a beacon of openness and a model for the best use of science".

He added that he wanted to strengthen the "already high standards" of food safety to ensure that "everyone can have confidence that public health is being properly protected". Yet his appointment continues to be the centre of controversy, particularly in view of his much-criticised badger culling experiment to curb tuberculosis in cattle."