Flaws in claims of GM crop industry (4/3/2008)

For Julian Little's letter see: Attacks on GM crops are indefensible http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/mar/01/gmcrops.food?gusrc=rss&feed=environment


Letters: Flaws in claims of GM crop industry
The Guardian, March 4 2008

GM industry representative Julian Little once again misses the point (Letters, March 1). The right to know where GM crops are planted is crucial to allow neighbouring farmers whose crops risk contamination to take action to protect them. Communities also deserve to know if GM crops are being grown in their areas, especially as, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, land values could be affected.

Little's claims of success are flawed. What's surprising about public opinion over GM is that people are still concerned despite the fact that virtually no GM foods have been on sale in the UK for nearly 10 years because of consumer rejection. It's not activism that's preventing GM crops taking hold in the UK, but a complete failure by the industry to make a convincing case for why we need them.

Clare Oxborrow
Friends of the Earth


Julian Little says a recent study by the Open University 'shows that farmers recognise the economic and environmental benefits of GM crops'. This would suggest that the survey is saying that UK farmers as a whole are supportive of GM crops. But the study doesn't show that at all. The sample of farmers was concentrated on 30 large-scale commodity farmers. including 16 who had previously volunteered to take part in GM crop field trials. They were all hand-picked by the pro-GM organisation Supply Chain Initiative on Modified Agricultural Crops. However, such nuances don't seem to concern Little, who is happy to promote the simplistic headline that most reporting of this survey has unfortunately gone along with.

Roger Mainwood
Wivenhoe, Essex

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