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10.12.12

Paterson calls for greater use of GM technology

GM crops should be grown and sold in Britain, environment secretary Owen Paterson has urged. The technology could have “real environmental benefits”, he said, by increasing crop yields and preventing disease.

Use of GM could also reduce Britain’s dependency on imports. However, public perceptions of GM can often be negative, with opponents citing the ingredients as harmful to health and the environment.

So far in Britain, only small-scale trials for GM food have been run, and while some products in imported foods are GM, most supermarket own-brand products have banned the ingredients due to public unease.

The Government has conducted a consultation on new ‘agri-tech’ measures to improve farm efficiency and is due to respond next year. This could include a relaxation of controls on GM foods.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Paterson said: “Emphatically we should be looking at GM…I’m very clear it would be a good thing. The trouble is all this stuff about Frankenstein foods and putting poisons in foods. There are real benefits, and what you’ve got to do is sell the real environmental benefits.

“There’s about 160 million hectares of GM being grown around the world. There isn’t a single piece of meat being served [in a typical London restaurant] where a bullock hasn’t eaten some GM feed. So it’s a complete nonsense. But, the humbug! You know, large amounts of GM products are used across Europe.”

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