21 May 1999
Britain tightens GM food rules
THE government is to announce new regulations this morning in an attempt to allay public fears about genetically modified (GM) crops, report todays broadsheet papers.
Cabinet office minister Dr Jack Cunningham will make a major statement to MPs at the House of Commons on the regulatory framework for the foods and crops.
Chief scientific adviser Sir Robert May and chief medical officer Professor Liam Donaldson are expected to report today (Friday) on whether GM foods are safe.
Sir Robert spent much of yesterday (Thursday) denying a rift with the government over calls for a four-year delay in putting GM crops on sale, so that research could ensure they were safe.
But he is likely to have inflamed further debate by his comment that the use of the technology may “hasten the already worrying decline in biodiversity in the countryside”.
Concern over GM crops was heightened again this week after reputable US research disclosed that the pollen of a strain of GM maize can kill the caterpillars of the monarch butterfly.
The laboratory study is the strongest evidence yet that a GM crop poses a danger to wildlife.