The government recently concluded a consultation process where members of the public could take part in discussions and make their views known in other ways. Six locations were selected where a panel of experts engaged in discussions with the public. There were questionnaires and internet sites where the public could participate. However, publicity for this consultation seemed to be severely lacking and only very few people could ever have taken part in the formal discussions.
Michael Meacher ‘resigned’ from his post in the government and is now supporting a much more critical position regarding the development of GM foods and other aspects of genetic manipulation. One recent report indicates that the yields from GM crops are no greater than from standard ones - at least in developed countries.
Letters published in the Times recently show people have concerns that the development of GM crops will parallel dangerous procedures of the past. One of these correspondents pointed to the incorporation of additives containing lead into petrol which was good for cars but seriously damaging to people, especially the young, for 75 years.
We should also remember that the tobacco industry hid the dangers of smoking for 100 years and still attempts to deny connections with strokes and cancer. Also the chemical industry attempting to discredit Rachael Carson and the automobile industry refusing to introduce seat belts and to build safer cars. Commercial interests have shown a conspicuous lack of responsibility and there are warning signs in the case of GM.
Reprinted from Summer 2003 Newsletter