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20.06.13

GM ‘even safer’ than other crops – Paterson

GM crops are probably safer than conventional plants, environment secretary Owen Paterson has said ahead of a major speech on the topic.

He told the BBC: “The use of more precise technology and the greater regulatory scrutiny probably make GMOs even safer than conventional plants and food.

“The EU chief scientist Anne Glover has said it pretty bluntly – there is no substantiated case of any adverse impact on human health on animal health or on environmental health.”

GM could also provide “the potential to reduce fertiliser and chemical use, improve the efficiency of agricultural production and reduce post-harvest losses. If we use cultivated land more efficiently, we could free up space for biodiversity, nature and wilderness”.

Only two crops have so far been approved for commercial growing in the EU, and none for human consumption. Paterson is urging for the UK to move forward with the technology.

But Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett said: “The British Government constantly claim that GM crops are just one tool in the toolbox for the future of farming. In fact GM is the cuckoo in the nest. It drives out and destroys the systems that international scientists agree we need to feed the world.

“We need farming that helps poorer African and Asian farmers produce food, not farming that helps Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto produce profits.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

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