11 May 1999
Scientists take on greens over GMs

SCIENTISTS fought environmentalists to a standstill in a recent debate over the dangers of genetically modified (GM), according to The Guardian.

Lord Melchett, director of Greenpeace UK, claimed releasing GM crops into the environment would have incalculable consequences.

He told the Guardian-organised debate at Nottingham University that he advocated organic farming as an alternative.

Prof Don Grierson, professor of Plant Physiology at the university, was one of several academics who countered the green case.

He pointed out that his GM tomato had been on sale in Safeway and Sainsburys for three years, clearly labelled and giving 20% more tomato paste for the money.

He said that, by transplanting one or two genes into rice, it would be possible to include vitamin A in the diet of children in south-east Asia.

Pesticide use could be cut by using GM crops resistant to pests, he said.

Prof Grierson said GM technology could improve the quality, storage and nutritional value of foods, and benefit the environment as well as consumers.

  • The Guardian 11/05/99 page VI (Higher Education)