Skip to comments.UK Tries To Bury Devastating GM Crop Report
Posted on 12/31/2002 4:26:11 AM PST by blam
UK tries to bury devastating GM crops report
December 30 2002 at 06:41AM
London - Alarming results from official trials of genetically modified (GM) crops are severely jeopardising plans for growing them commercially.
The findings, in a new government report, show for the first time in Britain that genes from GM crops are being passed on a large scale to conventional crops and weeds.
The finding is so devastating to the government's case for GM crops that ministers sought to bury it by publishing the first information on it on the department of the environment, food and rural affairs website on Christmas Eve - the one day in the year on which no newspapers are being prepared.
The full report, which contains more devastating detail, was withheld from the website.
The GM crop interbred with a weed... raising the prospect of super weeds The report is the result of monitoring GM crops in Britain from 1994 to 2000.
The trials were designed to look at the effects of different uses of pesticides on GM and non-GM plants.
The studies, by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, found that genes from GM rape - a seed grown for oil - contaminated conventional crops. The rape seed had been engineered to be resistant to herbicides.
The report also says that the GM crop interbred with a weed, wild turnip, giving it resistance to herbicides and raising the prospect of super weeds.
Pete Riley, of Friends of the Earth, said the results showed that if GM crops became widespread, almost all similar crops would become contaminated, threatening organic agriculture. - The Independent
GM report 'was not buried'
The UK Government has denied trying to bury a report into genetically modified crop cross-contamination. The study, released on Christmas Eve, found evidence of GM crops contaminating plants in neighbouring fields.
It is another case of cock-up rather than conspiracy
Anti-GM campaigners have seized on the report, claiming it proves there is no commercial future for bio-engineered foods in the UK.
Environment minister Michael Meacher told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he had not known the report - a summary of which was published on the website of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) - would be released on Christmas Eve.
"We weren't trying to bury it," he said. "I entirely agree that the Christmas Eve timing was unfortunate...
"I can assure you there is no wish to conceal. It is another case of cock-up rather than conspiracy."
The research found that the weed wild turnip was affected by gene flow when planted next to GM oilseed rape, prompting fears that it could become resistant to herbicides.
Current isolation requirements for GM crops could be reviewed following the publication of the results.
Environmental group Friends of the Earth has warned the report highlights the potential threat of "super weeds" in the British countryside.
Mr Meacher denied the study, which goes back to 1994 and was finished in 2000, revealed any new information.
"The fact is this information has been known since the early 1990s," he said.
"These findings are not new; they simply confirm what was already known."
Mr Meacher said cross-contamination could not be eliminated but could only be minimised and kept below an acceptable level.
Further research on cross-contamination will be revealed by the Farm Scale Evaluations, commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and carried out by independent researchers.
The final results of the studies will be published in early 2004.
The government has also undertaken a major review of GM foods in an effort to understand the cost involved in producing them and public reaction to them, as well as scientific research into the possible risks involved.
Could be a good B Movie...'Killer Weeds'.
Less Pesticides is the way to go.....but is this stuff going to be digestible?
Science and technology are like free market - they are infallible gods. We can blindly trust them.
No, no. Love of money is the purest of motives. Free market is the source of all good. Get on your knees and worship it!
Responding to questions on why he was advocating for an open adventure into genetically engineering at a time when most countries are preaching zero risk in respect to bio-safety, Borlaug dismissed the zero-risk idea, saying it was a non issue where only plant genes are concerned, and not chemicals. He said zero-risk is something that does not exist and not tenable in a biological world where things kept on changing.
Asked who is going to be concerned with the bio-safety once a floodgate has been opened for genetic engineering, he described people who have been championing a GMO-free world as "utopian thinkers" who do not understand the complexities of food production. "Dosage makes the poison. But vitamins, which are vital, are taken in smaller quantities. If we could get a gene from rice - because rice does not suffer from rust - and then use it to protect other crops that suffer from rust like wheat, that would be a big revolution, and that will not be dangerous to human health in any way," he added.
Borlaug's point is that even beneficial nutrients like vitamins can be dangerous if you take them in too large an amount. And its also true there is no such thing as zero risk in nature or for that matter in the course of human affairs. But its hard to see how modifying food plants in small ways would harm any one. What would be wrong for instance as he argued in taking a gene from a rice plant that protects it from rust and adding it to a plant that is prone to it like wheat? Think of how much more bread could be added to the tables of the world from such a small step alone. To date none of the critics have shown a single instance where biotechnology in agriculture has made a human being ill or killed even one. Genetically modified foods offer the great promise of wiping out malnutrition and hunger that still afflicts millions and it would be a crime not to take advantage of all that it offers to make life safer and healthier for every one.
What would be wrong in taking a cockroach gene, or a spider gene. This stuff is EVIL!
Not to mention the fact that the big food and seed companies (monsanto, ADM) are eliminating any competition from heirloom seed companies.
Ever heard of "terminator seeds"?