10 April 2000
Soil Association under fire on GMs

By FWi staff

AN EXPERT on human genetics has accused the Soil Association of being”utterly irrational” by excluding GM crops from organic farming.

Sir Walter Bodmer, principal of Hertford College, Oxford, makes the comments in the magazine Science and Public Affairs, reports The Independent.

“This is completely and utterly irrational, reflecting an extraordinary prejudice for an apparently respectable organisation,” he says.

By fixing their own nitrogen, GM crops offer to reduce the dependency of farmers on artificial fertilisers, Sir Walter told the newspaper.

“One would have thought that would be important for the organic farmer.”

The assertion that GM crops are likely to transmit alien genes to wild plants are not supported by the evidence of conventionally bred crops, he adds.

“Why should there be any greater likelihood of gene transfer from a genetically manipulated crop than from one produced by conventional breeding?”