Minister ‘under pressure’ on GM crops

DEFRA secretary Caroline Spelman is under pressure to halt a government review of genetically modified crops.

The call comes amid claims that biotech lobbyists helped to draft a major report on the cultivation and sale of GM crops.

An email trail reveals close links between the pro-GM Agricultural Biotechnology Council and the Food Standards Agency, according to the Daily Mail.

Council members, who represent biotech firms, succeeded in having controversial pro-GM paragraphs inserted into an FSA report, claims the paper.

Suggested changes included a claim that GM foods could keep food prices down.

The FSA also accepted the GM industry’s claim that such foods would inevitably be introduced across Europe, the paper claims.

The council also sent the FSA a list of people it thought should oversee a government consultation in the wake of the report.

Emails were exchanged between the FSA officials and the council between 2008 and August 2009, the Daily Mail reports.

The FSA said the council’s views were sought to ensure the report was balanced.

A DEFRA spokesman said Mrs Spelman had made it clear that any decisions on GM trials and future policy would be based on science.

The government would consider the potential benefits, but also public concern about GM technology.