Exclusive Clive Beddall, Dublin A clearer, practical worldwide standard for organics and an end to the "waffle" in the GM debate is being urged by one of the international dairy industry's leading figures. Talking exclusively to The Grocer, Dr Noel Cawley, md of the Irish Dairy Board, said: "Just what is organic' these days is a highly subjective judgement. Most of the milk produced in Ireland is from grass little affected by fertiliser. It's as good as you will get. "Is milk from a cow out in the middle of Texas, which has rarely seen a human being or been subject to oil spill, organic? "Several agencies in each country are defining organics, so there needs to be a clearer definition of standards," said Cawley. "At the moment, the definition of organic' comes from a marketing effort, and it varies from country to country. The issue is highly questionable. Ultimately there will have to be international agreement." Turning to the GM controversy, he believed industry and consumers should keep an open mind. "Unfortunately, the terminology of GM is offputting and misleading. I am not saying I am in favour or against, but that we should take the best bits out of it. That requires a scientific approach, not waffle." Cawley points out genetic modification is a reality in parts of the international food industry. "In certain countries what is seen as natural' in food has come about through genetic modification, whether by sunlight or other means. "It's ridiculous to suggest that all our food has not got at least some genetic material, even though it might never have been put through a laboratory system. Modification has come through nature. "However, I fear there's a risk of the GM issue being taken over by the public relations people rather than the scientists, and that's not good. "The debate must be scientifically based." {{NEWS }}