Phil Woolas is a tool… of the GM lobby

He wants a debate?

Environment Minister Phil Woolas met biotechnology industry members before calling for a new debate on genetically modified crops, it has emerged.

Mr Woolas has suggested that, with global food prices rising rapidly, GM crops could greatly improve yields.

A copy of a briefing paper prepared for the meeting has been passed to the BBC’s Today programme.

Mr Woolas has previously said that the government is ready to argue for a greater role for GM crops.

The briefing paper formed the basis for a presentation to Mr Woolas by members of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council.

This is an umbrella group representing some of the leading companies involved in developing GM crops.

According to BBC correspondent Tom Feilden, the notes make a powerful case for the technology, but the most controversial section deals with the situation in the UK and Europe.

It calls for a rethink on the regulation of GM crop trials, and for a review to streamline and depoliticise the procedures governing the licensing of genetically modified crops across Europe.

Benefit claims

The biotech industry says that GM technology can combat world hunger and poverty by delivering higher yields and reducing the use of pesticides.

But green groups and aid agencies have expressed doubts over just how effective the technology is.

An annual report from industry body the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) published in February said growing GM plants, such as maize and cotton, produced higher yields and incomes and lowered pesticide use.

But GM Freeze, a coalition of groups including Action Aid, the Soil Association, Unison and Greenpeace, said there was no evidence GM crops boost yields.

Pete Riley, of GM Freeze, said: “There is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone, it’s just that the economic system put in place by politicians has failed to ensure that that food reaches the people who need it most, whilst other sectors of the population are becoming obese.”

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3 Responses to “Phil Woolas is a tool… of the GM lobby”

  1. Alastair Says:

    This is simply an attempt by companies such as Monsanto to gain a monopoly over worldwide food production. GM crops do not produce viable seeds, and so farmers would be required to buy new seeds every year. GM crops will not aid African countries, and some have already said that they will not buy seeds for GM crops.

  2. charliemarks Says:

    Yes, it’s about corporate control – the problem is not supply, but price.

  3. harpymarx Says:

    Good grief is Woolas still going..? Blimey…I remember him when he was president of NUS in 1986. And still right-wing.


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