2 March 2000
‘No harm’ from gene food — so far

EATING genetically modified food has yet to be shown to cause the slightest harm to human health, an international conference concluded yesterday.

“So far so good,” said chairman Professor Sir John Krebs, closing the three-day Organisation on Economic Co-operation and Development conference in Edinburgh.

But Sir John, who heads Britains Food Standards Agency, said there was a need for continued testing of GM varieties and monitoring of people who ate them.

He admitted many difficult issues had not been resolved.

Questions remain over whether GM food could or should feed the worlds growing population.

There are also disagreements over whether GM crops in animal feed represent a problem.

The Daily Telegraph reports that there was common agreement that first-generation GM crops had little benefit for consumers.

Newer products, however, would offer tangible health benefits.

The Financial Times reports that the conference was characterised by profound scientific disagreement.

In his closing speech, Sir John also confirmed he will propose the creation of of an all-embracing global forum to pull together scientific opinions on GM organisms.

Sir John is to forward his report to officials preparing for the G8 summit in Okinawa, Japan.