For immediate release Monday 21st July 2003
GM science: The public as guinea pigs; enormous uncertainty; and more trouble ahead
The GM Science Review, published today (1), reveals the depth of uncertainties surrounding GM crops and foods (2) and the lack of any systems for detecting harm to human health (3). It also highlights how future developments in GM have even greater potential to cause damage to human health or the environment (3) and how our lack of knowledge will make accurate predictions about environmental impacts very difficult (4).
"People are effectively being used in unmonitored testing of GM food safety across the world according to the Governments Science Review," said Dr Sue Mayer, GeneWatch UKs Director. "And there are no plans to start collecting hard evidence from the human guinea pigs. Even so, the Science Review Panel try to reassure us that current GM foods are safe. They dont seem to have learnt the hard lessons of BSE."
"I expect the public would like to debate these findings and decide whether they think GM foods are worth the risk. But coming three days after the end of the public debate, it seems the discussion will now be confined to the experts," said Dr Mayer. "Unless the public debate is reopened to include all the evidence, suspicion will remain that the Government cannot be trusted to act in an open minded way."
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For further information contact:
Dr Sue Mayer on 01298 871898 (office); 07930 308807 (mobile).
Notes to editors:
- The findings of the GM Science Review are published on: http://www.gmsciencedebate.org.uk/
- For example, the Executive Summary of the review states: "But GM does present certain particular potential challenges in risk management and the situation may prove to be more challenging in future, depending on the crops developed."
- The Executive Summary of the review states: "However, absence of readily observable adverse effects does not mean that these can be completely ruled out and there has been no epidemiological monitoring of those consuming GM food." and that "Countries are working to develop post-marketing surveillance to detect potential human health effects of food in general, but at present there is nothing yet available for GM foods in any country."
- For example, the Executive Summary of the review states : "Important gaps in knowledge include the possible rate of uptake of GM crops in the UK; detailed knowledge of farmland ecology; soil ecology."