A committee of MP’s have said that Ministers must abandon the term “GM” when referring to genetically modified crops because it has negative connotations and encourages public hostility to the technology. A such they are calling for a rebranding exercise.
The Mail Online reports: MPs on the science and technology select committee has demanded a ‘reframing of the public conversation’ about genetically modified food.
In an inflammatory report today, it says the GM label has become a ‘lightning rod’ for fears about designer crops.
It says the term should be reserved for plants created using the most basic form of genetic engineering, with many newer methods excluded. Anti-GM groups accused MPs of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the public.
Peter Melchett, of the Soil Association, who gave evidence to the committee during its inquiry, said: ‘This is probably the most ridiculous recommendation to come out of any select committee in this entire Parliament. It’s insulting to the public to suggest they can be fooled that easily.’
Some fear that ‘Frankenfoods’ could alter ecosystems and have hidden effects on human health.
No GM food has ever been commercially grown in Britain, kept out by a labyrinthine EU system that makes it difficult to get the required environmental licences.
But UK scientists and farmers have been campaigning for years to make the process easier.
The latest report repeats their calls and urges the Government to change its terminology.
It says: ‘GM . . . is now often used imprecisely to encompass a whole range of technologies. We recommend that the Government initiate a reframing of the public conversation by moving away from the overly simple notion of “GM” in its policies and communications.’