18 November 1998
Government ‘bowing to biotech industry’ — FoE

By FWi staff

ENVIRONMENTALISTS have slammed the Government for rushing through new laws to speed the advance of genetically modified (GM) food in the UK.

Changes to the seed regulations have halved the number of test trials needed on GM seeds. Friends of the Earth claims the new rules dramatically cut the amount of information gathered by the Government before the crops can be commercially grown.

“Genetic engineering is a new and still unpredictable technology,” said Pete Riley, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth. “Halving the amount of data needed shows once again that the Government is bowing to the interests of the biotech companies, and is in total contempt of the growing public concern.

“The message seems clear – the interests of the biotech companies come before the interests of the public or our farmers.”

The new regulations were rushed through Parliament, despite objections from many organisations including the National Farmers Union, the Country Landowners Association, the Soil Association and the Lincolnshire Seed Growers Association.

The news follows the leak of an opinion research conducted for biotech giant Monsanto, which shows a growing majority of the public opposed to commercial growing of GM food in the UK.