Letter: Sainsbury hits back

Sir: In January Friends of the Earth claimed that the Gatsby Charitable Foundation funds the development of GM food for J Sainsbury plc.

Wrong. Gatsby does not and has never funded development of GM Food for Sainsbury's.

On 22 January Friends of the Earth claimed I will be launching a video to convince shoppers that genetically modified food will do them no harm.

Wrong. A proposal was put forward in a report to Maff in 1998. I did not commission the report, I have never seen it, I have never discussed its contents and I understand Maff are not going to act on its recommendations.

On 25 January Friends of the Earth claimed that I was leading a plan to use supermarket loyalty cards to investigate the impacts of eating GM food.

Wrong. I have not been involved in any discussions along these lines.

On 19 February Friends of the Earth claimed that I used a visit to China and Korea to promote GM crops links between Britain, Korea and China and "visited various biotech bodies in China including the Institute of Plant Physiology in Shanghai".

Wrong again. The visit was undertaken to promote bi-lateral science links and covered a range of issues. I did not discuss UK GM food policy nor did I visit the Shanghai institute.

In his letter to you (11 March) Charles Secrett, director of Friends of the Earth, claims I took part in a discussion on GM food policy when I chaired a public meeting on the consultation on the biosciences.

Wrong. The minutes make it quite clear that no discussions of GM food policy took place.

Most recently I have been accused of making a loan to Diatech after I became a Minister and Diatech had been put into the blind trust.

Wrong. It is a matter of record that I had agreed and was contractually bound to make the loan and that I had paid the money before I became a Minister. The recording in Companies House of a charge over assets owned by Diatech was done after I had become a Minister, but this was an action taken by the trustee of the blind trust. Again, Friends of the Earth did not wait to check the facts before calling for my resignation.

The simple fact is that I have not taken any decision where I could have a conflict of interest. I have not broken the Ministerial code in any way, and I have not failed to register any interest I should have done.

On a separate point, Fran Abrams reveals ("Lord Sainsbury will head team promoting biotechnology firms", 12 March) that I am leading a task force in the DTI looking at biotechnology clusters. This was a published commitment in the Competitiveness White Paper and was announced in the House in December.

LORD SAINSBURY

Minister for Science

Department of Trade and Industry

London SW1

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week