GM meeting must reach consensus

29 February 2000

‘GM meeting must reach consensus’

CONSENSUS must emerge from this weeks conference on genetically modified crops in Edinburgh, warns the Financial Times.

Otherwise the issue is in danger of becoming hopelessly polarised between opponents of GM food and biotechnologists who cannot see what the fuss is about.

The newspapers editorial says one positive outcome of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conference would be the establishment of a high-powered international panel.

Modelled on the International Panel on Climate Change, this could assess the dangers of GM crops.

The FT also calls for OECD governments to provide more money for for developing countries to undertake their own research and development.

On the opening day of the conference on Monday (28 February) delegates heard many developing nations were keen to embrace GM crops to feed growing populations.

But there was concern that the food supply for much of the world could be in the hands of a small number of multinational companies.

At a fringe meeting, US attorney Steven Druker alleged that the US Food and Drug Administration had covered up serious concerns from its own scientists about the danger posed by GM food.

Meanwhile, biotechnology companies are having difficulties finding enough farmers willing to take part in this spring1s field-scale GM trials.

Only 10 sites have been identified, when 75 were needed, Dr Brian Johnson of English Nature told The Express.

In the same newspaper, environment editor John Ingham warns that scientists are losing public trust after a series of u-turns.

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