GM Science Review - Comments on First Report

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Name: British Society of Plant Breeders Limited Location (optional): Date: 15 October 2003
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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 beneficial development.

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."

Yours sincerely

Roger Turner

Dr Roger Turner
British Society of Plant Breeders Limited
Woolpack Chambers
16 Market Street