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Genetic food said to be safe safe to eat

The Government yesterday declared that genetically engineered food was safe for human consumption in Britain, writes Tom Wilkie.

Within a few months, supermarkets will carry tomato paste and ketchup made from plants whose genetic make-up has been altered. Also cleared was vegetable oil made from genetically altered oilseed rape.

Angela Browning, the food minister, gave the two foods safety clearance yesterday. They are the first whole foods made by genetic engineering to be given safety clearance in Europe. The tomato paste was cleared in the USA in November.

Yesterday's approval will not take full effect until the Government has reached a decision on labelling. The Food Advisory Committee meets next month to consider the issue.