Food Standards head slams anti-science GM culture

Lord Rooker has criticised the public's abhorence of GM technology, and called it a result of 'anti-science'.

The chairman of the Food Standards Agency insisted that his organisation is following the evidence, whether that is pro-GM or not.

"It is a basic principle of this Agency that our work is founded on evidence, including the best available science. Science is indeed the cornerstone of our work on food safety,” he said.

"The Agency has established a specialist social science unit that works alongside our policy teams, and a Scientific Advisory Committee focusing on the social sciences, both of which help us to develop the evidence base.

"This includes an understanding of the role of food in society as well as exploring the range of factors that are important in understanding people’s views about food," he said.

Lord Rooker was responding to a letter from Peter Melchett, policy director at the Soil Association which criticised the Agency for ‘favouring’ genetic modification technology.

Lord Rooker also insisted that the FSA listened to a broad range of inputs, not just pro-GM business for its 2009 GM report.

"The Agency was absolutely even-handed in its dealings with stakeholders – from all viewpoints," said Lord Rooker.

"By comparing a draft report against the final, published version, you will see that a great many changes were made to the draft and that these changes reflect comments made by the whole range of stakeholders,” he added.

>> Two-thirds of UK public want their food to be GM-free

>> EU commissioner calls for action over GM rules

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