Sir, Welcoming the call from Shane Morris to “develop evidence based, GM policies in a democratic manner” (Letters, March 13th) I would like to remind him of his own longitudinal analysis of university scientists opinion of GM food and crops. The survey conducted in 1999 and repeated in 2008 compared answers put to a range of Irish academics from the Life Sciences.
It showed that 40% of the respondents were not willing to buy GM food or drink of any kind, the percentage remained unchanged between 1999 and 2008. The study, co-published with Ewen Mullins and Charles Spillane, highlights a significant and continuing concern from within the independent research establishment and follows a similar sustained pattern of rejection of transgenic food and crops throughout Europe in public polls asking similar questions, with one significant difference, the lay person consistently rejects GM, in survey after survey 60% or more have said that they would reject GMO’s in their diet if they had the choice.
Irelands Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Cunningham, in an interview in an in house Teagasc magazine (T Research, Vol 2. No.3) recognised this concern as a major economic opportunity for our island nation and its potential as a GM free food supplier to the world.
I would suggest that the public have spoken in a democratic fashion. Along with a rejection rate of 40% from within the Irish Life Science community, this is surely reason to stop open air, genetic experiments and ask, why have the worlds largest insurers refused to insure farmers and food processors for any liability arising from the GM process. Consequent to this position, governments in GM crop producing countries have had to change legislation putting GM food producers beyond normal liability laws (a similar situation exists in the nuclear industry).
Is Mise, Cllr. Danny Forde
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