GM crops are safe, declares Brussels

9 October 2001

GM crops are safe, declares Brussels

By Philip Clarke, Europe editor

GENETICALLY modified crops are probably safer than conventional plants and foods, the European Commission has declared.

Some 81 Brussels-funded research projects, conducted by over 400 scientific teams over the past 15 years, have been published.

But the commission said in a statement that it had so far failed to find any new risks to human health or the environment.

“Indeed, the use of more precise technology and the greater regulatory scrutiny probably make them even safer than conventional plants and foods.

“If there are any unforeseen environmental effects – none have appeared as yet – these should be rapidly detected by existing monitoring systems.”

European research commissioner Philippe Busquin has launched a new “round table” to raise the voice of science in the GM debate.

He called for compromise between the “enthusiastic exaggeration of certain GM crusaders and the radicalism of some of their opponents”.

The commission is trying to push through legislation on labelling and traceability, to kick-start the stalled European Union approvals process.

Food safety commissioner David Byrne is meeting top-ranking US officials to explain the EUs evolving position on the new technologies.


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