Exposing gene food dangers: letter

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The Independent Online
The article on Green Party campaigning against genetically engineered foods ("Greens rally against the invasion of killer corn", 30 June) implied that our opposition was frivolous and based on the need to find a new cause. The fact that 14 out of the 15 EU environment ministers opposed the genetically engineered Ciba-Geigy maize at their meeting in Luxembourg on 25 June, and that the European Parliament has also given a negative opinion, shows that we are not alone in our concerns.

There are two other aspects of this story which need highlighting. Firstly, the European Commission retains the ultimate authority to approve this application, overriding the democratic process of decision-making by the member states' ministers. Secondly, the EU novel food legislation - not yet finalised - which is supposed to regulate gene foods, will contain weak labelling provisions. Our research suggests that in nine cases out of 10 consumers will be denied the right to know that their food has been the subject of genetic manipulation.

Whether you think gene foods are the best thing since sliced bread or view them as a dangerous interference with our food supply, consumers should at least have the right to choose. Is the gene food industry afraid to put its products to this test?

Hiltrud Breyer MEP

Patricia McKenna MEP

Steve Emmott Genetic Engineering Co-ordinator, Green Group in European Parliament, Brussels