1 March 2000
Public money urged for GM safety research

MORE public money must be spent to determine the safety of genetically modified crops, says a leading food policy academic.

The Centre for Food Policy at Thames Valley University found that 90% of public funding is focused on the commercial benefits of science and only 10% on safety.

Dr David Barling from the Centre of Food Policy told the Radio 4 Farming Today programme that the emphasis is still short-term

“In our drive to commercialisation, we forget to look carefully at what the long-term effects of genetic modification might be to agriculture and the food system.”

He said research projects needed to be in place to monitor this and ask thorough questions about safety.

“Given that the private sector is putting in a tremendous amount of money into the commercial applications, isn1t it really the job of public research institutions to carry out this task?”

Dr Barling admitted that the government was beginning to increase funding for safety projects, but said commercial emphasis of policy still holds the upper hand.

He also expressed concerns whether safety regulations were tight enough and and adequately defined.