Monday, 19 April 1999

Stop the Crop


Since the last newsletter, the whole issue of genetically modified (GM) food has exploded onto the national agenda. The government’s position has been shown to be dubiously reasoned at best, verging on the duplicitous at worst. A key Cabinet memo leaked to Friends of the Earth shows mounting panic at the heart of Government over policy on GM food and crops. It reveals that the Government lacks answers to vital GM policy questions on health; on possible environmental damage; on the legality of a moratorium on GM crops; on labelling of food with GM ingredients and even on the Government's proclaimed 'voluntary deal' with the GM industry. The biotech industry itself has been forced onto the back foot, and the supermarkets have been falling over each other to guarantee their own brands as GM free. Make no mistake, the issue is not dead, and the campaign far from won. GM crops are still being planted in test sites all over the country, and GM food is still on the shelves in name brand foods containing such ingredients as soya and maize derivatives. The current profile of the issue, added to the massive and proven public rejection of GM in food, gives us a unique opportunity to kill off this technology for good, and build momentum for safe, sustainable food production into the next century. And there's plenty you can do;

Write to your MP, and ask them to raise the issue with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Keep up the pressure where you shop. Ask them if they sell GM food, and if they do, or don't know, make it clear you will not buy it. Check what you buy, and try to get organic food if you can. Iceland are own-brand GM free, and the other major supermarkets are promising to be so within months, with the exception of Tesco, who should be targeted for foot dragging.

This is a mater for everyone, we all have to eat! Raise it with your friends and work mates, and at any other clubs, societies and groups you belong to. Maybe they would consider action over GM food? There is now an active broad based coalition group, Sheffield Against Genetic Engineering, meeting regularly in the Fat Cat pub, Alma Rd, every other Wednesday at 7.30 starting on the 14th of April.

More info - Food and Biotechnology campaigner, Spencer Cooke
Tel: (01433) 062 1658.
Email: sjcfoe@smalldale.demon.co.uk