'It Is Only through Intensifying Public Pressure That We Will Be Able to Keep Wales GM Free'

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 14, 2006 | Go to article overview
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'It Is Only through Intensifying Public Pressure That We Will Be Able to Keep Wales GM Free'


A few weeks ago I was delighted to take part in the excellent Welsh breakfast event in Brussels organised by the Farmers Union of Wales.

The Welsh breakfast has become something of an annual tradition and an opportunity to show off the best of Welsh produce to European policymakers and officials.

It's a chance to put across the concerns and hopes of Welsh farmers in an informal setting.

The FUW went to the trouble of bringing top-quality, fresh Welsh ingredients with them. It was worth it - everyone was impressed with what was on offer.

Welsh food has gained a well deserved reputation for quality which is trusted overseas. I'm sure that one of the reasons behind this is our opposition to GMOs. Rejection of GM crops in Wales - by farmers and consumers - is overwhelming and we are one of 172 European regions to declare ourselves GM free.

Maintaining this status is vitally important in order to preserve the unique brand identity of locally produced Welsh produce. That's why many people were deeply concerned about a little publicised World Trade Organisation ruling last week that could jeopardise our fight for a GM-free Wales.

The ruling said that EU restrictions to imports of products containing GMOs was unjustified and should be lifted. I am deeply concerned about the consequences for Welsh consumers and farmers alike if this decision goes unchallenged and the EU takes a more liberal line on GMOs.

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