24 February 1999
GM crops — What the papers say

THE debate over genetically modified (GM) crops continues to take up large amounts of newsprint in the broadsheet papers.

Three background pieces in The Guardian question claims that GM crops will feed the world, examine alternatives to GM crops in the shape of “sustainable agriculture”, and report on the biosafety protocol talks taking place in Colombia.

The talks, involving 170 countries, are generally reckoned to have acceded to US demands for a market-driven approach to GM development against the wishes of the environmental lobby.

In the main paper, further space is devoted to an assessment of the legal remedies open to consumers who may suffer health problems.

Coverage in The Daily Telegraph leads with an interview with the Dr James Watson, the “Father of the DNA revolution”, who is dismissive of environmentalist claims.

“If Europe rejects science in its agriculture, it will be marginalised,” says Dr Watson.

The Independent runs a story about a shake-up on the governments Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, the committee responsible for approving GM crops.

Many members of the committee are angry over government proposals to replace almost all of them with .

The Herald reports that the head of the Iceland supermarket chain has accused the government of causing “chaos and confusion” by dragging its heels over public safety concerns.