07 March 2015 | Online since 2003



10 December 2012|Arable,Cereal,Crops,News,Organic

Paterson backs UK GM crops


Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has given his support to genetically modified (GM) food production in the UK.

Paterson said GM crops, which are currently only produced small-scale and not available commercially, would have 'real environmental benefits' and dismissed criticism as 'nonsense'.

Supporters argue GM would increase yields and reduce pesticide usage.

"The trouble is all this stuff about Frankenstein foods and putting poisons in foods. There are real benefits, and what you've got to do is sell the real environmental benefits" the Environment secretary said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

The comments follow a meeting held in June by the GM industry's Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC) which was attended by ministers and government officials.

Critics of GM have said Paterson's statements were 'factually inaccurate and ignores the UK Government's own data from feed trials that showed GM crops harm wildlife'.

"Mr Paterson seems to be formulating policy from an evidence base provided by the agri-biotech industry and ignoring the Government’s own data showing GM harms wildlife" said Pete Riley of GM Freeze.

"He needs to consult more widely with people who understand the evidence."

Critics have highlighted the problems of herbicide intolerance, superbugs and wildlife threats. Those against the introduction of GM production say pesticide use in the US is higher than before GM.

But Paterson dismissed the criticisms. He said GM crops were already being used worldwide on a large scale and people were already eating GM food unwittingly.

"I'm very clear it would be a good thing," he said.

"So you'd discuss it within government, you'd discuss it at a European level and you'd need to persuade the public."

Currently, the government is looking into new measures to push farming technologies forward in the UK and that David Cameron would support GM at the "appropriate moment".

"What we farmers need is a food production system that provides safe healthy food that our customers want to buy, provides the farmer with a decent return on time and investment and delivers genuine environmental and social benefits in the countryside" said Lincolnshire farmer Pete Lundgren.

But Professor Anne Glover said Europe could only achieve sustainable intensification if we become more 'open-minded.'

"What we do now will shape what happens in 2050," said Professor Glover.

"We do need to improve crop yields and we need to improve wastage before harvest. Farming needs to have less chemical and water input. This has to be achievable and we will achieve it, but we need to be more open minded about how we achieve it."

Professor Glover referred specifically to European attitudes towards GM technology.

"If we just looked at the evidence base, we would have GM in the EU without a doubt. GM crops are subject to more scrutiny than any other type of agriculture," she said, adding: "There is no substantiated evidence that I have ever seen that GM crops are harmful to the environment, animals or people".

But Pete Riley commented: "Millions of people go hungry because they cannot afford to buy food while millions of others are sick and obese because they are not able to afford a healthy diet. GM crops do nothing to address these fundamental problems."

Download



Comments


10-12-2012 17:37 PM | Posted by: Oliver Dowding
It strikes me that the only thing that Paterson has backed is to back himself into a corner.

Does anyone else notice the way in which the message is being repeated, repeated, repeated in the hope that we all believe it? It doesn't change the truth of the matter. This very good short film featuring American farmers who've come the wrong side of the so-called GM wonder crops is well worth watching. You won't see this quoted in the corporate handouts! http://vimeo.com/18994807

Look at Prof Glover urging on sustainable intensification, a snazzy buzzword that so many, including the NFU, have become addicted to.


What chance that Paterson and his ilk will actually look at what consumers want? Will he offer them all the information they need to make an informed choice? When he says "GM crops were already being used worldwide on a large scale and people were already eating GM food unwittingly", surely he sees therefore the consumers have been conned? Surely he ought by his own inference to therefore be insisting that food be labelled correctly to give consumers a proper and informed choice? No doubt he'll fall for the American line, that they think that there's no discernible difference between the genetically manipulated and the plant that nature provides. At least, that's what the GM companies have led the American government to believe, and persuaded them to accept. Thus, virtually nothing has ever been tested independently, for any length of time, or properly. Are we really ready to swallow that?

10-12-2012 21:28 PM | Posted by: Kev C
Thank you Oliver for posting the link. Unfortunately there will be those out there who insist that 20 years of consumption by Americans is proof that it is safe. Yet what they fail to point out is that there has been a disproportionate increase in serious ill health among Americans for which no specific cause can be attributed. No surprise then that they will say its not GMO's. Sadly they are deluding everyone, including themselves. You cannot prove something is safe when there is no baseline from which to work. That baseline is traceability. They do not know which food contains GMO's in the US so how can they follow the causes of these diseases? They can't. As a plausible source of evidence it wouldn't even get out of the classroom let alone a full scientific peer review process.
So the claim that GMO's are safe to eat is deeply flawed. There is no proof of safety regarding human consumption of GMO's. Its all corporate propaganda designed to secure total control over the entire global food supply through patents and the WTO.
The only safe and reliable way of feeding a growing population at a time when the climate is rapidly changing and land fertility is falling is to revert to permaculture techniques. Follow this link:
http://permaculturenews.org/
Check out the 'How to survive the coming crisis' video linked to on the right hand side of the page.
We don't need GMO's to feed the world. We need locally grown open pollinating crops and less chemical toxins not mono culture/chemical warfare both on the land and in our kitchens.
Owen Paterson is barking up the wrong tree.

17-12-2012 16:47 PM | Posted by: Martin K
The thing that really worries me is the lack of balanced evidence on which this is based. The last "cunning plan" we had from a Conservative minister was to feed bits of dead cow to living cows. Apparently perfectly safe until we get BSE...

We do not want to be part of an experiment by multinational giants telling us there is no alternative and feeding the line very convincintgly to government ministers.

Conventional breeding of crops is showing inreasing yields year after year. That technology is safe and has stood the test of time. Put some money into that instead of falling for the beguiling words of a smart salesman.

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


27 February 2015
general farmworker
Dairy Farm requires general worker. The location of work is on a farm, all applicant must be able to arrive at work for early...

6 March 2015
Insurance Account Handler
3 - 5 years broking experience (not insurance company), preferably with experience in either High Net Worth Personal Lines, f...

5 March 2015
Senior Developer
This will have a huge impact on anything from an improvement in agriculture to a marked increase in the efficiency in drug-te...

17 February 2015
Safety Health and Environmental Officer – Civils / Wind Farm Construct
Got the App My client an internationally recognised wind farm construction principal is looking to recruit a NEBOSH general (...

17 February 2015
Section Leader BMS
It comprises Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, the Royal Free Hospital and more than 30 services in the community....




Top stories you may have missed
2 February 2015 | Arable
Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Membership of the EU is damaging the British farming industry, according to...


29 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

BASIS has launched an accreditation for pilots of Unmanned Aerial Systems (...


23 January 2015 | Arable
UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have theoretical potential to more than double over the nex...


23 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Britain’s farmers flocked to Peterborough for the first day of LAMMA’15 to ...


22 January 2015 | Cattle
Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

The crisis in the dairy industry is not the fault of supermarkets, accordin...


16 January 2015 | CLA
Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer visited three rural businesses in Cheshi...


16 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

Spearheading the John Deere range of mid-size tractors from Mannheim, the n...


14 January 2015 | Animal Health
Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Regular testing for bovine TB could significantly reduce the number of infe...


12 January 2015 | News
Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Single-issue policy-making threatens to hamper, not help, the progress of U...


8 January 2015 | Cattle
2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2014 has been a “rocky old year” for the beef industry but better prices ar...