ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

3 July 2002


Eco soundings
John Vidal
Wednesday July 3, 2002
The Guardian,7843,747862,00.html

Missing millions

Meanwhile in Manila, leading pro-GM activist Professor CS Prakash, of Tuskegee University, Alabama, who runs the recommended, if marvellously one-sided, website called Agbioview, is quoted in the Philippine Star suggesting that Greenpeace Europe is spending $170m a year opposing GM foods and gets its budget "maybe [from] some companies that think their business operations will be greatly affected by widespread use of GM crops in the world". What could he mean? Professor Prakash, just named "man of the year" by Progressive Farmer magazine, is sadly unavailable to elaborate - and Greenpeace says it would be lucky to spend £250,000 on its campaign.

Uneasy peace

Monsanto has had some famous dust-ups with Greenpeace and the British media over the years, but peace is the new order. The GM company tells Eco Soundings it was more than happy with the latest BBC documentary under the Bitter Harvest banner, which looked at the UK conflict between environment groups and biotech companies. "It broke the BBC mould; it was incredibly balanced and fair to science and industry," raves Tony Coombes, the company's spokesman. So hats off to producer Catherine Quarby, who, by remarkable coincidence, is the partner of Stephen Tindale, the head of Greenpeace. So what did Tindale think? "I'm very proud of her," he says.

"We had a lot of discussions about the issues but nothing about what went into the programme. That would have been improper."

GM label fraud

Letters, The Guardian, Wednesday July 3, 2002,3604,748185,00.html

We agree that consumers are entitled to know, through labelling, whether or not the food they eat is GM (Letters, July 1). But we do not support the European commission's proposal to label food containing purified derivatives such as oils or starches made from GM crops, because such regulation would not be enforceable. GM derivatives cannot be checked by a chemical test, so the only check will be by paper trail. For crops transported half way round the world, this will be open to fraud. We do not want a cheat's charter, but a robust system that consumers can depend on. This should include a GM-free labelling option for people who wish to totally avoid foods produced using GM technology.

John Krebs
Chairman, Food Standards Agency

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