Meacher criticised for voting against GM crops suspension

UK environmental groups have expressed disappointment that the Environment Minister voted against a temporary EU-wide suspension in the authorisation of GM crops at the Council of Europe meeting on 24 June. The suspension passed despite votes against it. (see last week's story).


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“The Government is completely out of step with public opinion,” Catherine Fookes, campaign manager at the Soil Association, told edie. The Association welcomes the temporary suspension of further GM crop planting and marketing authorisations. “We think that it won’t be before 2002 that there will be any more authorisations.”

What worries Fookes, apart from the Government’s stance, is the notion of GM thresholds in supposedly GM-free food. “The idea is that GM-free products will contain a certain level of GM ingredients.” The Soil Association opposes such thresholds and is campaigning for the minimum distance between GM crops and non-GM crops to be increased to allow for the guarantee of products as GM free.

Friends of the Earth also hit out against Meacher’s failure to back the temporary GM crops suspension, saying “the UK’s weak position in dealing with the GM multinationals could mean that this country will become the open-air laboratory for GM crop testing for the whole of Europe”.

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