Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bio-Industry `Should Pay for Damage by GMOs'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bio-Industry `Should Pay for Damage by GMOs'

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jennifer Mackenzie

Areport due to be published tomorrow is expected to recommend that the biotech industry should be liable for environmental harm caused by GM crops.

The Environmental Audit Committee's report on GM crops is also reported to include recommendations that new crop trials are commissioned.

Under existing law, it is clear that a non-GM farmer who loses markets and income because of GM contamination of their crop would not be able to sue anyone to recover the loss.

Farmers could find themselves being sued by food companies or supermarkets which have to withdraw food because it is found to contain GM contamination.

No insurance company is prepared to insure against GM contamination.

Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesman Andrew George MP said: "If these reports are true, the Government will have to realise that its policy on GM crops has finally been blown out of the water by common sense and genuine scientific doubts.

"It would be foolish to decide to grow GM maize in the UK following such strong cross-party criticism of the science on which the decision would be based.

"New independent trials and further public consultation will need to be commissioned immediately.

"The issue of liability must also be resolved and should rest solely on the GM industry, rather than farmers or the taxpayer.

"It was already clear that two of the three crops trialled would harm the environment, but the use of a pesticide - atrazine - in the maize trials, in which the biotech companies were heavily involved, has made them invalid.

"Evidence from North America shows that, in the longer term, GM crops need more pesticides rather than less, so any new trials must be four years or more if they are to be taken seriously.

"In the past the Government has desperately sought to compile evidence to back up its case but the facts remain the same. Growing GM crops in Britain won't help the developing world, we could leave future generations with an unwelcome legacy and, above all, people simply don't want the stuff. …

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