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CO-OP BANS GMs: Anti-GM Message Couldn't Be Louder

October 21, 2003 3:46 PM

Commenting on the Co-op's decision to ban GMs from its own land and own-brand products, Andrew George MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Rural Affairs Secretary, said:

"How much louder does the message have to be? The public doesn't want it, supermarkets won't stock it, and there are major environmental concerns about it.

"The public debate revealed overwhelming concerns and the farm scale trials cast doubt on the environmental impact of GMs. Yet the Government seems intent on pressing ahead.

"Much more research will be needed before consumers will have any faith in GMs. It's time the Government started listening to them, instead of caving in to pressure from the multinational biotech giants."

--Bates backs Co-op stance over GM crops--

Mick Bates AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson, has responded positively to the Co-op's decision today to not allow the planting of commercial GM crops on its Farmcare land, regardless of whether government approves the technology.

He said: "The Co-op have adopted a very much consumer driven approach to GM technology, in response to the wishes of real people; the public debate revealed overwhelming concerns and the farm scale trials cast doubt on the environmental impact of GMs; the Labour Assembly Government must now resolve more than ever to stick with the 'most restrictive policy possible'".

The Co-op's survey of nearly 1200 respondents revealed over three-quarters of people had yet to be convinced that the growing of GM crops should be allowed in the UK. This decision means that no GM crops will be planted on the 34,400ha of Farmcare land and no GM food will be sold under the Co-ops own brand label.

"When such a significant player in the agri-food market as the Co-op makes a stand, we have to hope that government will listen", said Mr Bates, "Wales neither needs nor wants the co-existence of GM crops with traditional agriculture - It's time Labour started listening to the Welsh people, instead of caving in to pressure from the multinational biotech giants".

Notes:

* Farmcare, which also has a non-GM policy for animal feed, farms over 100 farms and produces over 25 million litres of milk annually

* The survey of Co-op customers and members, carried out by NOP World over the weekend of 18-19 October, also found: