The Panel members are to be congratulated in putting together
such a detailed and comprehensive review. This report demonstrates
the vast amount of work that has been undertaken to examine
GM technology. It shows how detailed the scrutiny has been
and how, even when subjected to such careful examination,
the technology compares favourably with its counterparts.
BSPB is proud of the achievements of its members in the breeding
of conventional plant varieties. Plant breeding is the key
for beneficial change in agriculture. Over the last 50 years
BSPB members have significantly improved the yield and quality
of the UK's plant varieties. Throughout this period the statutory
approval and regulatory processes have evaluated new varieties
and only the best have reached the market. No significant
failures of this regulatory process have occurred.
When judged against this background it is clear that GM crops
will contribute to this record of achievement and that the
EU Regulatory process will ensure their continued safety and
Over the last 30 years the UK has produced varieties with
very high levels of genetic purity. This purity has been achieved
at the field level by the use of a combination of methods
- separation distances, pollination barriers. It is expected
that GM crops can be grown using the same approach to ensure
their purity and that of their sexually compatible neighbours.
As the report states "It is important that in the UK,
we have regulatory oversight that is proportional to the degree
of risk and the nature and scale of the uncertainties, and
which recognises the context and reference baseline provided
by conventional breeding."
Dr Roger Turner
British Society of Plant Breeders Limited
16 Market Street