12 March 1999

Economic fears over GM-free

IT will be economically impossible for British farmers to produce meat and milk guaranteed free of all genetically modified material, according to Jim Reed, managing director of supply trade organisation UKASTA.

"Importing soya or corn gluten feed guaranteed free of genetically modified crops may be possible in containers and up to a scale of 500t. It would probably cost an extra £20-30/t. But when you move to significant amounts, quite frankly it cant be done," Mr Reed told a news conference in Glasgow.

"If the demand for food free of all possible modified material was so great in this country then I suppose the demand would be met by importing animal feed materials from the EU and third world countries not using GM technology.

"But I hate to think what it would do to our production costs and how long it would be before our farmers were no longer competitive and consumers deserted the products because of the high cost," he said. &#42