11 December 1998

County council votes in favour of GM food ban

COUNTY councillors in West Sussex have voted in favour of a ban on genetically-modified foods in all meals provided by social services, despite safety assurances from MAFF.

A spokeswoman said the ban was introduced because of growing public concern about the GM food issue.

But she added that the council was increasingly frustrated that it could not give a total guarantee that food would be GM-free, because current labelling did not provide enough information on ingredients.

She said: "This is an issue we feel strongly about and we have taken this up with MAFF.

"MAFF assured us that all GM ingredients currently being used are safe. But until we have more information, and until we have accurate labelling, the ban will stay in place."

Meanwhile Labour Euro-MP David Hallam has warned UK farmers to be cautious before embracing GM crops.

He told Shropshire NFU members, attending their annual general meeting at Wroxeter, that multinationals controlling the release of GM crops would be making all sorts of promises during the next few years.

"These companies will demand massive royalties for using their genetic material several generations on. Eventually farmers could be squeezed between the big battalions – the bio-tech firms and the supermarkets.

"Consumers will be uneasy with the new products and I predict there could be massive food scares," he said.

Mr Hallam added that he was not convinced that any government, the EU or the World Trade Organisation had testing procedures in place that would reassure the public. &#42