ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

12 December 2001


2. Eurobarometer survey shows 79.9% don't want GMOs


1. CropGen report highlights absence of evidence on GM safety

December 7, 2001
UK Soil Association statement

CropGen has today (7 December 2001) published a report 'One hundred percent safe?' which claims to point to evidence from over 100 publicly available sources showing that approved genetically modified foods are as safe as other foods.

In response to the report, Craig Sams, the Soil Association's chair said: "This report provides no new evidence about the safety of GM food. We cannot rely on the absence of evidence but must have evidence of absence of risk. The handful of examples that we have of safety testing -- by feeding GM food to animals - has produced disturbing results.

"The Flavr-Savr GM tomato, which was sold through UK supermarkets, was later found to have caused intestinal lesions in rats. Scientists at America's Food and  Drug Authority had called for it not to be approved for human consumption but pressure from Calgene, the company that created it, resulted in this advice being over ruled.

"Research commissioned by the UK Government on GM potatoes was carried out at the Rowett Institute by Dr. Arpad Puztai, an experienced, internationally published and respected scientist. Puztai's research, which was peer reviewed by six experts andtherefore must be the most credible research on this subject, also found intestinal  lesions in rats. However, he was rubbished and silenced by the Government and industry.

Although The Royal Society has since called for his testing to be reproduced, this has not happened.

"A third test showed that twice as many chickens fed GM maize died as those fed the conventional crop. Despite this, the GM maize was approved for commercial growing by the Government and was only withdrawn following a public  hearing brought by campaigners, including the Soil Association.

"Though it is claimed by the biotechnology companies that there have been no ill effects during several years of GMO consumption in the US, there have been no scientific studies to support such statements. Instead we have seen worrying health developments.. It has now been established by the US Government that several allergic reactions to Adventis's Starlink corn occurred after it entered the food chain."

In the UK, a 50% rise in soya allergies has been reported since imports of GM varieties began and similarly doctors in Ireland report a rise in soya allergies in children.

"The genetic engineering process introduces numerous random hazards, and the limited level of scientific understanding means that risk assessment
and control measures cannot be reliably designed. At this stage of the technology's development, the Soil Association believes that the use of GM crops will lead to unpredictable and possibly very serious impacts on health and the environment. Considering the evidence, it is clear that decisions to date on the safety of GMOs have not been made on the basis of science, but on assumptions and industry opinion."


2. Eurobarometer survey shows 79.9% don't want GMOs

On 12 Dec 2001, at 17:01, Gill Lacroix wrote:

Dear friends,

Check this out.  The European Commission has just published the results of a Eurobarometer survey on 'Science and Society', including a section on GMOs.  You can find the full text on the web site given below.

Some highlights:
- 94.6% say they have the right to chose about GM foods
- 79.9% don't want his type of food
- 59.4% say GMOs could have negative effects on the environment

Furthermore, Eurobarometer says that - contrary to other areas of science - the knowledge/education factor does not make citizens more favourable towards GMOs.  "This is not true with GMOs.  People interviewed could have a high level of knowledge and still believe that biotechnologies should be subject to more control and demand more safety studies, etc.  In this case, information is not enough and could even be counter-productive" !!!


Gill Lacroix
Biotechnology Coordinator
Friends of the Earth Europe
T. 32-2-542.0182, F. 32-2-537.5596

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.  We have guided missiles and misguided men".  (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

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