Let farms grow GM food, says PM’s personal scientific adviser: Top adviser backs calls to relax rules on crops
Calls to relax the rules on GM crops were backed yesterday by the nation’s chief scientist. Sir Mark Walport said the rise of genetically modified food was ‘inexorable’ and there was a ‘strong case’ for it to be grown in Britain.
So far biotech firms have been deterred from growing GM crops in Europe by the tightest controls in the world. But controversially Sir Mark, who is David Cameron’s personal scientific adviser, said the food was proving its worth and production is increasing globally.
‘It is inexorably rising up the agenda again because as a technology it is showing its value more and more, obviously in terms of the crops that are able to feed the world,’ he added.
‘The job of a scientific adviser is to set out the scientific case and that scientific case is becoming stronger and stronger.’ But Peter Riley, of campaign group GM Freeze, said: ‘The public remains extremely sceptical about the safety of GM foods and the benefits that are said to come from them.
Politicians and scientific leaders need to look at other food options that do not come with such a large risk. ‘The push for GM is being orchestrated by large industry rather than in the interest of the consumer or public health.’
Sir Mark said it was his ‘job to advise on the science and it is then the politician’s job to decide how to use that … The final decision is a political decision’.
His comments – in his first public speech in the job – are the latest indication that the GM lobby is rapidly gaining influence after years of public hostility.