Benn urged to take tougher line on GM crops

Organic farming groups have called on Westminster to follow the Welsh and Scottish governments in taking a strong stance against genetically modified crops.

Representatives of the Organic Trade Board and the Soil Association, along with 10 organic businesses, met DEFRA minister Hilary Benn in London last week to urge him to stop voting in favour of GMs at policy-making meetings in Brussels.

The groups condemned Mr Benn for voting to try and stop countries like Germany from banning Monsanto’s GM maize – a decision taken by the German government after concerns were raised over the crop’s environmental impact.

Mr Benn was asked to support the strong GM-free position adopted by the Scottish and Welsh governments.

And the organic lobby highlighted the proposal by the Welsh Assembly government to make GM companies liable for any damage their GM crops cause.

Mr Benn acknowledged the benefits of organic farming in terms of reducing emissions emissions. He also agreed to pass on a request to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to follow the lead set by White House staff in Washington where an organic garden has been established.

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