04 February 1999
‘Gung-ho GM firms can turn off public’
By FWi staff
THE gung-ho approach of large agrochemical companies keen to press ahead with the commercialisation of genetically modified foods could isolate consumers, it was claimed today (Thursday).
“Bulldozing GM science into commercialisation threatens to destroy the science root and branch,” said David Hatch, chairman of the National Consumer Council.
“Consumers need and deserve full information about GM products in order to make informed choices,” he told delegates at a Farmers Weekly conference in Birmingham.
But the companies behind GM technology continue to claim it is a vital weapon in the war to end world hunger.
“Without it we could not hope to feed a rapidly growing world population” said Gary Hartnell of the biotech giant Monsanto, which has developed herbicide-resistant GM soya.
Robin Maynard of Friends of the Earth said such views were outdated and that biotech companies were driven by profit.
“Monsanto et al are not the new corporate Bob Geldof; saints out to solve the problem of a world hunger,” he said.
Mr Maynard warned that farmers could become serfs bonded to the large agrochemical companies selling seeds for GM crops.