GeneWatch demands GM crops moratorium

17 February 1998

GeneWatch demands GM crops moratorium

ENVIRONMENTAL watchdog GeneWatch has called on European Governments to agree on a complete moratorium on genetically modified crops until the public is satisfied with their safety.

Sue Mayer, director of the research and analytical body into the ethics and
risks of genetic technologies, writes in the Financial Times that
conditions for dialogue should be established while a moratorium is in place.

“If this opportunity is missed, the risks for all concerned are enormous,” she

Mayer claims the biotechnology industry should have predicted public
resistance to genetically engineered food and that the problems it now faces are
entirely of its own making.

The companies have either failed to recognise the extent and nature of public
unease, or have dismissed it as based on ignorance, she says.

But she goes on that the industry has consistently resisted attempts to
reconsider or even segregate genetically modified crops from conventional
varieties. Labelling requirements have been squeezed so that the very minimum is

She says the public has learnt that the extent to which developments prove
dangerous in the long term is influenced by profit and our inability to control
risks. BSE has taught the public the hard lessons of scientific uncertainly and its interpretation in policy

  • Financial Times 17/02/98 page 16 (Viewpoint)

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