08 June 1998
Prince launches attack on GM crops
THE Prince of Wales, in a letter to the The Daily Telegraph, today slammed multi-national companies for trying to persuade the public to accept genetically-modified crops.
Prince Charles said genetic engineering “takes mankind into realms that belonged to God and God alone”. He said he would not eat genetically modified (GM) food, or give it to family or guests.
GM crops already enter Britain in large quantities from North and South America for use in foodstuffs. Soya, in particular, is a stable used in a lot of food products and there is no form of segregation in the USA to separate the GM crops from the traditional soya crops.
Approval is now being sought by multi-national companies to grow GM crops in the UK including maize, oil-seed rape and sugar beet.
Prince Charles argues GM crops could cause new forms of pollution and lead to crop failures and hunger on an enormous scale because of over-dependence on a few GM varieties.
The Government is understood to be split on the issue. Michael Meacher, environment minister, is believed to be keen to introduce a five-year moratorium on the growing of some GM crops.
But Margaret Beckett, trade secretary and Tony Blair, the prime minister, are said to be under pressure from President Clinton and British biotechnology companies to press on with fast expansion.
Monsanto, which launched a UK advertising campaign at the weekend to explain the benefits and safety of GM crops to the public, said the Princes comments were “not based on sound facts”.
- The Daily Telegraph 08/08/98 page 1-2, page 16
- The Times 08/08/98 page 1
- Financial Times 08/08/98 page 10
- The Independent 08/08/98 page 5