Letter: Fast food

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I WELCOME the Govern- ment's move to set up a committee to oversee the potential use of genetically modified crops ("Genetic food gets watchdog", 13 September). In part, this may reduce the squabbling that has so far obscured what is a serious debate.

The study on the ill-effects of consumption of genetically modified potatoes that your writer alludes to was unpublished, and thus not subject to peer review. This latter discipline is important as a safeguard for the trust we put in the results of scientific discovery. The methodology of this study could never have substant-iated the claim made since it did not use genetically modified material. As a scientist who has become an organic grower, I despair at the polarisation and vilification that has characterised this issue. Surely we can find better ways to judge whether there are any merits in scientific innovation?

Dr Mark Fisher

Shipley, West Yorkshire

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