GM Science Review - Comments on First Report

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Name: Michael Berwyn-Jones Location (optional): Date: 24 July 2003
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Although I have not read the report in full yet - only the Executive Summary plus selected bits of the full report for further clarification - it does prompt comments (listed below) from me as an ordinary member of the public.

The panel have been careful to point out the gaps in our knowledge and the many areas of uncertainty. Inevitably, these mean that the report is mainly inconclusive and, in most respects, leaves me too without the information needed to reach a conclusion.

1. As current knowledge is so far from complete about GM crops, microbial ecology, etc., it seems to me unwise to adopt the technology in such apparent haste.

2. There can be no need for food crops in Europe when it has a food surplus and an increasingly obese population.

3. Having been a beekeeper for many years, I know that honey bees gather pollen (nectar and propolis) from sources within three miles from their hive. This, and the recent report from France that GM seeds are carried long distances in soil on vehicle tyres and human footwear, must lead to contamination of other farm land.

In my opinion, this is the most compelling reason for not growing (currently available) GM food crops here as they will compromise organic and conventional farming without compensation for those inflicted.

4. The panel has put faith in the fact that GM foods have been eaten for seven years by millions of people in America, Canada and Argentina without appearing to have produced any harmful effects. But reports of such effects have been impossible as these peoples did not know that they were eating GM foods. Its presence was not on food labels nor announced in any other way.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment on this issue of public concern.

24 July 2003. Michael Berwyn-Jones, Sutton Mandeville