GM crop concernGreenpeace and FoE question GM safety

18 April 2006

Environmental groups claim the European Commission has been approving GM foods and crops despite having serious doubts over their impact on health and the environment.

Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are now calling for the immediate suspension of the use and sale of all GM foods and crops until the safety issues have been addressed.

The two charities have obtained documents submitted by the commission to the World Trade Organisation . In them, the commission says that there are 'large areas of uncertainty' about the health risks posed by GM products and that 'some issues have not yet been studied at all'.

Study on GM crop 'flawed'

The documents also state that a key scientific study that was used to support the environmental safety of a GM crop is 'scientifically flawed'.

Which? has long highlighted that there are many unanswered questions about GM food. Our research has shown that opposition to GM foods is growing, but the UK government is continuing to sideline consumer concerns; it has given the go-ahead to commercial growing of GM crops on a case by case basis in the UK.

GM food is sold in the UK, but generally it must be labelled as such.

Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace say that at the same time as the European Commission submitted the documents stating the misgivings to the World Trade Organisation, it approved seven GM foods despite a lack of support from most member states.

Call to stop GM sales

Friends of the Earth GM campaigner Adrian Bebb said: 'This is a political scandal. The European Commission must call a halt to the sale and growth of all genetically modified food and crops given the serious concerns over their safety that have come to light.

'When the commission...forced GM foods into Europe, it told the public they were safe. But the commission clearly knew this was not the case and was prepared to recognise the risk behind closed doors.'

Greenpeace said the documents showed that 'Europe's safety net' wasn't working.