24 February 1999
Local councils urge Blair to ban GMs

By FWi staff

LOCAL councils have joined calls from environmentalists, consumer groups and some farmers for a five-year moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops.

The Local Government Association, which represents 450 councils throughout England and Wales, today recommended a ban on GM food in schools, care homes and social services.

Members of the associations Public Protection committee this afternoon agreed to write to Prime Minister Tony Blair to express its fears on GM crops.

The move followed members vote urging town halls to wait until the year 2004 before deciding on whether to use GM produce.

The association wants the use of the foodstuffs halted in a bid to protect the public from the potential risks of GM organisms.

John Ryan, chairman of the committee said: “As major buyers and suppliers of food councils, we should be very cautious on behalf of the public.

“Because of the uncertainty, we urge the Government to fully pursue the precautionary principle with regard to this technology, and we will be writing to the Prime Minister.”

Environmental campaigners have already teamed up with consumer groups and organic farmers urging the government to introduce a “Five Year Freeze” on GM technology.

The government last Thursday said the commercial planting of genetically modified (GM) crops would be delayed by one year, until 2001, after a week of intense pressure.