ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
14 January 2003


2 items. The full report can be viewed at:



Press release for immediate use

The Munlochy GM vigil is calling for an immediate moratorium on the growing of GM crops following the damning report published by the health committee of the Scottish Parliament today (available on the Scottish Parliament website).

Anthony Jackson of the Vigil states: "Until the major issues raised in the health committee report have been addressed, GM crops should not be grown in the open environment. The report, with complete cross-party consensus, states that the risk assessment procedure upon which the safety of crops is supposedly based is flawed.

"The report also most damningly declares that the Executive has not, and is not, following the precautionary principle by allowing GM crop trials to proceed. The Executive has continually stated that they only allow trials to proceed on the basis of the precautionary principle and now must take on board the finding of this full and independent enquiry and put in place a moratorium on GM crops in the open environment.

"The Health committee could not find sufficient evidence to equivocally state that GM crops or food are safe in terms of human health. Without evidence that there is no harm to human health from GM crops or food it is encumbent upon government to make sure that GM crops are not grown openly or GM foods enter the food chain."


Press contact Anthony Jackson 07720 817 847

The full report can be viewed at:



Scottish Parliament, 14 January 2003

The full report can be viewed at:
The Scottish Parliament1s Health and Community Care Committee has expressed concerns about the robustness of Genetically Modified (GM) crop risk assessment procedures in relation to public health, referring to them as "flawed".

In a major report, the Committee has also expressed concern about the monitoring procedures currently in place and has called on the Executive to examine the effects on human health in relation to the local population around GM sites.

Convener of the Committee, Margaret Smith, said:

"The focus of our Committee report is whether or not the decision to test GM crops in Scotland will have a negative impact on public health. Whilst we acknowledge that we are not qualified to deliberate definitively on the complex scientific questions that are raised, we have heard enough evidence to come to the view that the Executive1s approach has no been sufficiently robust.

"We would like to see the Executive take a more cautious approach when deciding whether to approve GM crop tests in Scotland. From the evidence we have taken, we believe the risk assessment procedures in relation to public health are flawed.

"We want to see additional tests brought in, based on the worst case scenario that GM crops will enter into the food chain. Protecting public health must remain at the forefront of the Executive1s policies and more must be done to monitor the health of those living around the test sites."

Three page Executive Summary available on request from the Media Office.


GM crop trials have been authorised by the Scottish Executive to take place at:
*    Munlochy, Ross and Cromarty; Daviot, Udny, Tilliecorthy and Rothienorman (Aberdeenshire)
*    Newport-on-Tay (Fife)
*    Invergowrie (Perth and Kinross)
*    Bilston and Woodhouselea (Midlothian).

All the trials authorised thus far in Scotland are of oil seed rape (OSR), which can be harvested and made into cooking oil. The GM oil seed rape currently being grown in Scotland is not intended to enter the human food chain. The purpose of the trials is to compare the effectiveness of a particular type of herbicide on GM and non-GM OSR.

The Committee took its decision to proceed with an inquiry after considering paper from Nicola Sturgeon MSP at its 11 September 2002 meeting. (The paper represents the views of Nicola Sturgeon and not necessarily of the whole Committee.)

The Committee took evidence in public, on 13 November 2002, 20 November 2002 and 27 November 2002. The Committee heard evidence from the following witnessesÐ

*    Anthony Jackson and Linda Martin, Munlochy GM Vigil
*    Dr Charles Saunders, British Medical Association
*    Professor Alan Gray, Professor Janet Bainbridge, and Dr Steven Hill, Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE)
*    Professor Tony Trewavas, and Professor Chris Lamb, Royal Society of Edinburgh
*    Ross Finnie MSP, Minister for Environment and Rural Development, and Derek Bearhop, Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department
*    Dr Vyvyan Howard, Liverpool University
*    Dr Paul Rylott, Bayer CropScience
*    Dr Geoffrey Squire, and Dr David Robinson, Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI)
*    Mrs Mary Mulligan MSP, Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care, Dr Mac Armstrong, Chief Medical Officer, and Martin Donaghy, Scottish Executive Public Health Department
*    Lydia Wilkie, and Elspeth McDonald, Food Standards Agency

The Committee also issued a call for evidence on 4 October 2002 inviting anyone with an interest to submit written evidence. Fifty organisations and individuals responded. In addition, 26 individuals and bodies submitted evidence in response to an earlier call for evidence on behalf of the Committee reporter.

The Transport and the Environment Committee reported to Parliament on the environmental implications of GM crop trials in Scotland in its 1st report 2001.

*    1st Report 2003: Report on Inquiry into GM crops
*    Executive Summary

For further information, the media contact is:

Sally Coyne: 0131 348 5605
Out of hours: 07669 717177

For specific committee information contact:
Jennifer Smart, Clerk to the Committee: Tel 0131 348 5210

For public information enquiries, please contact: 0131 34 85000
For general enquiries, please contact 0845 278 1999 (local call rate)

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