Sunday, 16 December 2012

Open Letter on GM

Last week Environment Secretary Owen Paterson backed introducing genetically modified (GM) food production in the UK. In his speech he said there were "real environmental benefits" to the technology and dismissed concerns about its impact on human health as "complete nonsense".

The Scottish Government opposes GM foods and so our good friends over at The Fife Diet have written an open letter to the new Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP and to James Withers, Scotland Food and Drink’s CEO urging them to re-articulate the Scottish Government’s opposition to GM foods.

You can sign the letter on The Fife Diet website and we have copied the text for you to read below (to follow the links please visit the Fife Diet website!).

While the UK government may have decided to ignore overwhelming public opinion over many years on this issue, it’s worth reminding the media, the politicians and the people that agriculture and food here in Scotland is a devolved matter and that the Scottish Government has quite a different policy on GM. As it says here: ‘The Scottish Government is opposed to the cultivation of GM crops. The cultivation of GM crops could damage Scotland’s rich environment and would threaten our reputation for producing high quality and natural foods. It would damage Scotland’s image as a land of food and drink.’
This policy must be defended, promoted and articulated.
    • The UK Government’s pronouncement on GM risk further capture of the food culture to corporate control at just the time when we need to be encouraging smaller producers and community food initiatives.
    • The idea that GM is an answer to climate change has been widely debunked. Last year Friends of the Earth Europe published a report ‘Who Benefits from GM Crops’, which examined the evidence for these claims, and exposed that genetically modified (GM) crops could actually increase carbon emissions while failing to feed the world. GM crops are responsible for huge increases in the use of pesticides in the US and South America, intensifying fossil fuel use. The cultivation of GM soy to feed factory farmed animals is also contributing to widespread deforestation in South America, causing massive climate emissions. The report exposes that globally GM crops remain confined to less than 3% of agricultural land and more than 99% are grown for animal feed and agrofuels, rather than food. There is still not a single commercial GM crop with increased yield, drought-tolerance, salt-tolerance, enhanced nutrition or other beneficial traits long promised by biotech companies. Read the full report here.
    • Despite being presented as a coming giant that is inevitable in fact GM crops are grown by a tiny 2.7% of small or medium scale farmers worldwide, at the most, and less than 1% of farmers globally (see details here)
    • The recent British Science Association survey showed that public concern has not changed, and the number of people saying that GM food “should be encouraged” dropped from 46% in 2002 to 27% in 2012. (see Soil Association comment here).
    • See recent report on trace levels of Roundup. Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. That’s the conclusion of a shocking new study that looked at the long-term effects of consuming Monsanto’s genetically modified corn. Learn more here.
We the undersigned believe that GM has no role in a Scottish Food Policy (Recipe for Success) that is committed to: our reputation as a land of high quality food and drink; ensuring we make healthy and sustainable choices; making our public sector an exemplar for sustainable food procurement, all key aims of the Recipe for Success, Scotland’s Food and Drink Policy.

1 comment:

  1. Fife Diet have informed us of a response from Richard Lochhead about reinforcing and re-articulating the Scottish Goverments position on GM. You read more here