GeneWatch PR: Why won't the GM industry take responsibility for its crops?

GeneWatch today called upon the Biotechnology industry to take responsibility for its GM crops and accept strict liability under the Environmental Liability Directive(1).

The Environmental Liability Directive follows the "polluter pays" principle and should mean if a GM crop causes damage to protected habitats and species the company that produced that crop must pay remediation and compensation costs. This kind of protection is very important where there are disagreements, as in the case of GM crops, over their long term environmental safety of a technology or activity.

In their response to the Government's consultation, GM crop companies Bayer Crop Science and Syngenta(2) have both argued that because they are required to undertake a risk assessment and apply for a license, if GM crops did cause problems in the future it would be the legislation that was to blame and not them. If followed, this means the tax payer would foot the bill for a technology that many in the UK continue to be distrustful of. 

Becky Price of GeneWatch UK commented "If biotech companies have confidence in their industry, are happy with current safety assessments, and are keen to win over a distrustful public, why are they so reluctant to take responsibility for possible future environmental damage?"(3)

For further information:

Becky Price 07949 396328 (mobile)

GeneWatch UK 01298-24300 (office)


  1. GeneWatch UK - Background to the Environmental Liability Directive 
  2. Responses to the UK Government consultation on the ELD:
  3. GM industry should put its money where its mouth is. by Becky Price - The Guardian September 26, 2007

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