British GM maize plan 'disaster'

Feature story - 26 February, 2004
Planting genetically modified (GM) crops is a risk that isn't wanted or needed anywhere in the world. The general public in the UK and even the UK Government's own scientists and economists have all said no to GM.

Greenpeace removing genetically engineered maize from trial farm.

Yet leaked documents prove that the UK Government is about to give the green light to GM maize.

Cabinet meeting minutes leaked to the BBC suggest the go-ahead for the commercialisation of GM crops is imminent - despite Government claims that a decision is yet to be made.

The minutes rightly predict that there will be opposition the decision, which is contrary to public, scientific and economic opinion.

The Government wants to commercialise GM maize because the recent farm-scale trials appeared to show how good GM maize was for the environment. However, GM maize only passed these tests because its impact on wildlife was compared to conventional maize, which uses a weed killer so toxic it has now been banned throughout Europe.

If GM maize is grown in the UK it will be used to feed the dairy cows which produce milk. So unless UK residents buy organic from now on, the milk from supermarkets like Sainsbury's will come from cows fed on GM animal feed. This GM maize - thousands of tonnes of it every month - is currently imported from the US. Recent research has shown just how damaging growing GM is for the US environment, so why would anyone want it in the UK or anywhere else in the world?

We believe the commercial growing of GM crops in the UK would be a disaster for farming and the countryside because there are no rules in place to stop GM contaminating organic and non-GM crops. We know that GM crops are risky and at the moment there is no legal protection for UK farmers from the damage they cause. If something goes wrong, the GM companies will get off scott free while the tax payer foots the bill.

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