Any Negative Effects Of GM Foods Yet To Be Uncovered

EU - Scientific reseach has yet to uncover significant negative health effects from GM foods, despite ongoing public concern that such foods maybe harmful, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, Professor Patrick Cunningham, told the ASA conference.
calendar icon 18 September 2007
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"Repeated surveys show that over 70pc of European citizens are against genetically modified (GM) food. A Eurobarometer survey of 2003 showed that 56pc of Europeans believe GM foods to be dangerous, 70pc 'do not want this type of food' and 95pc want labelling and the right to choose. This reality cannot be ignored. At the same time, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that food derived from GM crops, or from animals fed on GM feeds, is safe," he said.

Professor Cunningham said GM crops and GM foods continue to be one of the most contentious public issues in European society.

He said the idea that Ireland be declared GM-free could possibly have advantages in marketing the €8bn of food products that we export.

"However, a number of formidable challenges would have to be overcome. As Austria and Italy have found, declaring a region GM-free may conflict with EU rules permitting authorised GM varieties to be grown. Also, with effectively open borders between north and south, it would require a declaration in two jurisdictions."

He added that GM corn and soybean constitute a growing proportion of global supplies of these two crops.

"With Ireland needing to import some two million tonnes per annum of such feed grains for its pig, poultry and dairy sectors, it will be increasingly difficult to source a GM-free feed supply," he said.

Meanwhile, Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan, said she has yet to decide on how she will vote on the Herculex debate at next week at the meeting of the EU Council of Farm Ministers

The EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health failed to come to a definitive decision regarding GM maize variety Herculex in June, and final approval for the maize variety was delayed for the last three months as a result.

Minister Coughlan said Ireland was a big importer of feed and, as Minister for Agriculture, she also has a duty to protect the welfare of livestock, which means that, at the very least, they must be fed, she said.

Source: ndependent
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