Azara Blog: A GM potato trial is approved by the government

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Date published: 2006/12/01

The BBC says:

A plan to grow genetically modified potatoes on two trial sites in England has been approved by the government. Defra granted permission for BASF Plant Science to grow the vegetables at field sites in Cambridgeshire and Derbyshire.

The crops have been modified to include a gene from a wild species of potato in a bid to make them resistant to blight, a disease costing growers £70m a year.

But the Soil Association said it was "a stupid decision" and warned other crops risked contamination by GM.
But Professor Philip Dale, an emeritus fellow at the plant-breeding John Innes Centre, hit back at Lord Melchetts' comments.

"The Soil Association is opposing this because they have a substantial investment in the commercial future of organic agriculture and they see these kinds of advances in general agriculture to be a threat to the profitability of organic farming.

"The negative views on GM crops and foods expressed in the GM Nation public debate (as the report acknowledges) were largely influenced by campaigning groups who for their various reasons wish to stop the evaluation of GM crops. They even wish to deny farmers and consumers the choice to evaluate them."

Dale has it right, but is missing a further point. The Soil Association has religious objections to GM crops and the commercial objections just follow from this. They have arbitrarily decided that "contamination" by GM crops makes "organic" crops not "organic", no matter how small the amount, and no matter how irrelevant it is to the health impact of the crops. Well, if they really think crop "contamination" is such a big issue, perhaps they should compensate other people for the "contamination" caused by crops grown under their own rules.

Of course these two trial sites are likely to be vandalised by the anti-GM fascists, if they find out where they are.

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