20 October 1999
GM moratorium to be extended?

A VOLUNTARY ban on growing genetically modified (GM) crops commercially in Britain is to be extended until 2002, claims The The Daily Telegraph.

The newspaper says a deal has been struck between the government and leading agro-chemical companies,

It will mean that no GM crops will be grown commercially in Britain until after the current field-scale trials are completed.

Last year ministers persuaded biotechnology companies to agree not to go ahead with commercial planting for a year.

But this one-year freeze is due to expire next month.

Michael Meacher, the environment minister, has been negotiating with companies such as Monsanto and AgrEvo for months to allow the government to complete its programme of farm-scale trials.

The Times contrasts the differing outlooks on GM food between Europe and the USA.

It observes that US biotech companies are just beginning to appreciate that markets outside of America are not keen on genetically engineered crops.

Letter writers, for and against GM food, slug it out in the columns of The Independent.

Dr Mark Fisher is resigning his membership of the Soil Association in “disgust at its scientific illiteracy and its gratuitous and self-serving criticisms of government over the level of imported organic food”.