28 May 1999
Blair blames press for GM ‘hysteria’

PRIME MINISTER Tony Blair has attacked the media for whipping up “hysteria” over genetically modified (GM) food.

His intervention followed a report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which strongly backed GM foods and said they could benefit consumers and help prevent global hunger.

The council said there was a “global imperative” to make GM crops available to developing countries, but argued that consumers should be allowed to choose whether to eat them. Blair referred to the Nuffield report in an attack on what he called “skewed reporting” of the GM food debate.

His message was reinforced by Lord Reay, the Tory chairman of a Lords sub-committee which investigated the regulation of GM crops. He warned that European agriculture would become “technologically backward” if it rejected the potential benefits.

But there is continuing continuing concern on the issue. CPB Twyford, based in Thriplow, Cambridgeshire, has announced that it is ending GM crop testing after attacks from “vandals”.