Sir; Having participated in last year's The Grocer debate with Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto, I found the first paragraph of last week's Opinion calling for "more intelligence and less malicious rhetoric" in the GM debate consistent with the approach that I thought the Soil Association had brought to the discussion. However, the malicious rhetoric that followed rather contradicted your call for reason: "­.the manic, crackpot fringe­ whipping up hysteria­", "special brands of sleazy propaganda with which to poison the debate­". Surely eschewing malice begins at home ­ the grocery trade should reasonably be able to expect balanced reportage on GM issues from The Grocer rather than the biotech can do no wrong' approach that seems to have emerged since your trip to Monsanto's HQ in 2000. Last week the Royal Society criticised the rule of substantial equivalence that exempts new GM crops from safety testing, and suggested that this might disguise the presence of unknown toxins, anti-nutrients or allergens, and should not be accepted in the UK or Europe. In the same week English Nature expressed concern about the emergence of GM superweeds' that require resort to older, nastier herbicides. No mention of either in The Grocer. While we support your call for more intelligence' in the debate, we also think this must mean acknowledging the concerns of reputable organisations such as the Royal Society and English Nature, whose arguments echo the longstanding and oft-dismissed concerns of the Soil Association. Patrick Holden Director Soil Association Editor's note: My reference last week to the "manic, crackpot fringe" was most certainly not aimed at the Soil Association. Mr Holden will recall that in an editorial after our GM debate last December I gave credit to the way he was debating the issue in such a constructive manner. If all lobby groups were as responsible as his association, I probably would not have written last week's editorial. {{LETTERS }}