Defra minister shows support for GM

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Government minister Owen Paterson has sent a clear signal in support of growing genetically modified foods in the UK, describing them as “a good thing” and dismissing safety fears as “complete nonsense”.

The Defra Secretary of State told The Daily Telegraph an “emphatic” case in favour of GM foods needed to be made and that GM technology offered real environmental benefits.

“Emphatically we should be looking at GM … I’m very clear it would be a good thing,” said Paterson. “The trouble is all this stuff about Frankenstein foods and putting poisons in foods. There are real benefits, and what you’ve got to do is sell the real environmental benefits.”

When asked about potential risks to human health, Paterson said large amounts of GM products were already used in Europe and UK consumers were already exposed to GM, in particular through GM material in animal feed. “There isn’t a single piece of meat being served [in a typical London restaurant] where a bullock hasn’t eaten some GM feed,” he said. “So it’s a complete nonsense.”

The government recently conducted a small consultation on the use of biotechnology, including GM. A formal ministerial response is due in 2013 and Paterson said he was confident Prime Minister David Cameron would find an “appropriate moment” to back GM food.

Readers' comments (3)

  • I am shocked that Mr. Paterson calls the fears of a very large and growing segment of the population "complete nonsense." It's the same in the US, where I live. The chemical companies will all win and years from now it will be 'deja vu all over again' as it gets compared to the Iraq War--when nobody in power would listen until it is too late.

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  • Owen Paterson is of course the brother in law of Telegraph man Matt Ridley.

    who is running Defra, and who is running the Telegraph? and who used to run Northern Rock?

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  • Shocked that a man in his position should use such cavalier language on this complex subject. What are his credentials in the food industry? He should travel to Bristol and spend a day getting briefed by the Soil Association. May then be less ready to shoot from the hip. And also speak to John Gummer.

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