Big exhibition backs GM food

17 October 1997

Big exhibition backs GM food

GENETICALLY engineered pro-ducts were strongly defended at the opening of the worlds biggest food exhibition.

German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, said prejudices must be overcome. Rational consideration of the opportunities and risks was needed, rather than extreme emotion. Industrial and exporting countries could not shut themselves off from new developments and technologies.

"When I say that, it is no mere blind belief in the future, we know from our history that not everything that is technically feasible is also acceptable," said Chancellor Kohl when he opened displays by 6500 exhibitors from over 100 countries.

Widespread fears about food produced by genetic manipulation must be taken seriously, but so, too, must their great economic significance. National and EU legislation had to provide checks. He called on politicians and the food industry to create the required transparency. There should be a responsible approach, and acceptance that genetic engineering was a key technology for the 21st century.

Farm minister, Jack Cunning-ham said the government believed genetically manipulated foods were safe, and backed the continuation of research, including work on cloning.

But he argued that consumers must be told which foods were affected, which were possibly affected, and which were not.

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