EU move on GM foods

Sir, On Thursday October 17 the UK Government will be taking part in the European Council of Ministers environment meeting, where crucial decisions about the labelling and trace-ability of GM foods will be made.

The Five Year Freeze Campaign, a coalition of 120 organisations including the Henry Doubleday Research Association, Islamic Concern, the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Unison and the Council for the Protection of Rural England, and representing more than four million members of the UK public, is particularly concerned that pressure from the biotechnology industry is pushing the European Commission to end the de facto moratorium on GM approvals across the EU.

Discussions at the EU agriculture ministers’ meeting earlier this week showed there is currently disagreement between European countries on labelling standards, and the UK Government is against the traceability process for GM foods.

In a recent Consumers’ Association survey 58 per cent of respondents were against growing GM crops for commercial purposes in the UK. It is crucial that the Environment Minister, Margaret Beckett, opposes the breaking of the moratorium. The Government is committed to holding a public debate on GM crops in the new year. If it is serious about taking the results of this debate into account, it should make no further policy decisions until it is over.

Yours faithfully,
Five Year Freeze Campaign,
The Genetic Engineering Alliance,
94 White Lion Street, N1 9PF.