Charles in anti-GM rant

Prince Charles has reignited the row over GM crops by condemning them as "the biggest environmental disaster of all time".

The outspoken royal, who has an organic farm on his Highgrove estate, said genetic engineering of crops was not the solution to the burgeoning global food crisis.

In a rare one-to-one interview with the Daily Telegraph, he mounted an impassioned defence of existing farming methods.

If giant corporations are allowed to control farming “then you can count me out”, he told the paper.

“What we should be talking about is food security, not food production – that’s what matters and that’s what people will not understand,” he added.

“And if they think that somehow they are going to work because they are going to have one form of clever genetic engineering after another, then again, count me out because that is guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster environmentally of all time.”

He accused firms of conducting an experiment with nature that had gone “seriously wrong”.

Responding to the interview, Environment Minister Phil Woolas told the Sunday Telegraph that Government will continue GM crop trials unless scientific evidence shows they are damaging.

“I’m grateful to Prince Charles for raising the issue,” he told the paper. “He raises some very important doubts that are held by many people.

“But government ministers have a responsibility to base policy on science and I do strongly believe that we have a moral responsibility to the developing world to ask the question ‘can GM crops help?'”

The Soil Association praised Prince Charles’ comments, which they were in tune with 85% of the British public who opposed the commercial growing of GM crops in the UK.

Campaigns director Robin Maynard added: “In questioning the value of GM crops for poor, small-scale farmers in developing countries, his comments also chime with the recent international agricultural assessment by 400 scientists from around the world, which questioned whether GM crops offered any solutions to global poverty, hunger or climate change.”

Kate Martin

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