UK govt study may play down GMO crop benefits (9/7/2003)

If this is correct, and it's hard to see how anyone could seriously defend economic benefits for the UK from GM commercialisation given the evidence of the opposite, then presumably they'll have been ordered to write in some benefits for the developing world - regardless of the evidence!
UK govt study may play down GMO crop benefits
09 Jul 2003 17:21:59 GMT
LONDON, July 9 (Reuters) - A major new study into the overall costs and benefits of genetically modified (GMO) crops in Britain is unlikely to support any economic argument for the technology, the UK's Soil Association, which campaigns for organic agriculture, said.

The report, to be published on Friday, is the last strand of the government's three-pronged national dialogue on the issue, the results of which will be taken into account when a decision on whether genetically modified organism crops should be commercialised is made.

The Soil Association said the Strategy Unit study is not expected to point out any economic benefits of GMO crops and will instead focus more on the importance of consumer choice.

It may also indicate that there could be extra costs and practical difficulties from managing the segregation of GMO and non-GMO crops, it said.

"The government has been wrong to support the introduction of GM crops on the basis that they will bring economic benefits," said Gundula Azeez, the UK Soil Association's policy manager said.

"GM food has already been rejected by all the major supermarkets, most large food manufacturers and the public. If there is no economic need, what reason is left?" she added.

Government officials said the Strategy Unit has considered a wide possible range of possible scenarios for the future development of GMO crops in the UK, including a "no GM" scenario.

But spokesman for both the Strategy Unit and the Cabinet Office refused to comment on what the report might say.

The costs and benefits report also looked at the impact of GMO food on farmers, processors, retails and consumers, as well as organic food producers, the biotechnology sector and on developing countries.

The UK government-sponsored national debate, which began last month, draws to a close next week.

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