Defra minister shows support for GM
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.