Letter: Ban GM imports

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Whether industry and government are planning a "secret deal" to extend the voluntary controls on commercial planting of GM crops or not is irrelevant ("Secret deal with GM firms denied", 16 March). Only a permanent ban on growing and importing such crops will solve the problem.

A moratorium on commercial planting still leaves 80 per cent of processed food on UK supermarket shelves containing GM ingredients, which pour in week after week through UK ports. The public will not be given the choice to buy the unadulterated food it wants and there will still be uncontrollable contamination of the environment with GMOs from field trials.

Only a total shift in the direction of food policy towards sustainable agriculture will achieve solutions to all of these problems. The future of food production must be built upon existing organic farming practices.

While only 1 per cent of agricultural land in the UK is currently farmed organically, in Austria the figure is over 10 per cent and Denmark has set a target to reach 10 per cent by 2003. The organic market is growing by leaps and bounds, yet the Government is failing to increase its support of organic farming and we continue to import between 70 and 80 per cent of organic food to meet the demand.

SARAH BURTON

Greenpeace UK

London N1

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