The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has announced the conference, to be held from 28 February to 1 March 2000. The UK Government will host and fund Assessing the safety of GM food – the OECD Edinburgh Conference on the scientific and health aspects of genetically modified foods.

The decision to hold the conference was taken after an OECD meeting on 20 November highlighted the level of international disagreement on the issue of GM food. Scientific associations, NGOs and industry bodies were represented at the meeting.

OECD Secretary General, Donald Johnson admitted, following the meeting that: “There remain serious differences of opinion on many aspects of biotechnology in food production, especially with respect to environmental considerations.”

The announcement of the OECD conference came in the same week as a survey reported UK consumers’ lack of trust in food safety measures. Fewer than one in five UK consumers trusts the Government on food safety and two-thirds of those surveyed believe the food industry is more concerned with profit than public health.

The survey was undertaken for the Co-op group of independent food stores.

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