28 June 2000
GM feed could spark food scare – MP

UNLESS rules on genetically modified material in animal feed are tightened there could be another BSE-type food scare, warns an MP.

Liberal Democrat GM spokesman David Heath says there are neither the regulations nor labelling to cover imports of animal feed containing GM material.

Mr Heath estimates that 2 million tonnes of GM feed are imported into the UK each year.

It is vital that farmers know what they feed their livestock and that consumers can be given a traceable food chain, said the MP for Somerton and Frome in Somerset.

“The great risk is that we end up with another food scare, which is the last thing the farming industry wants,” Mr Heath told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

Mr Heath said the BSE crisis underlined the importance of setting out a clear strategy to tackle the issue.

“Were not doing anyone any favours by pushing this subject under the carpet. We need to be open, we need to be clear.”

While Mr Heath thought it unlikely that there were problems with GM material in soya feed, he said this could not yet be proven and so caution should be exercised.

“If theres one lesson we should have learned from BSE its that you start off with the precautionary principle,” he said.

Consumers and farmers should be told what is happening and necessary experiments take place so everyone has confidence in the process, he said.