Scientists Oppose Scotland’s GM Crop Ban

Researchers from across the U.K. draft a letter criticizing the recent decision to keep genetically modified crops out of Scotland.

By | August 19, 2015


Following an announcement that Scotland would not embrace genetically modified (GM) foods, representatives from 28 scientific institutions across the U.K. have released an open letter in disagreement with the decision. The letter, dated August 17 and signed by institutions such as the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Roslin Institute, and the European Academies Science Advisory Council, noted the decision is strictly “political and not based on any informed scientific assessment of risk.”

“There’s quite a bit of anger and disbelief,” Chris Peters, an activist at Sense About Science, the London nonprofit that organized the letter, told Science Insider.

The letter stated that the country’s announcement, “risks constraining Scotland’s contribution to research and leaving Scotland without access to agricultural innovations which are making farming more sustainable elsewhere in the world.” The signatories further requested that Scottish officials meet with scientists to discuss their concerns about GM crops.

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment Richard Lochhead told Science Insider: “I will be happy to meet representatives of the science community and reassure them that these changes will not affect research as it is currently carried out in Scotland.”

According to BBC News, Dame Anne Glover, the former chief scientific adviser to the Scottish government and current chief scientific advisor to the President of the European Commission, has also criticized the country’s recent decision, saying it was “not based on scientific evidence.”

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Avatar of: St James

St James

Posts: 4

August 19, 2015

Not all GMO's are equal.  Unfortunately, some GMO's were not developed to provide better nutrition or require less fertilizer, pesiticides, and herbicides or to be drought resistant.  Rather they were developed to withstand higher levels of herbicides which in turn increases sales.  Resulting alterations in mineral absorption and metabolism diminish the nutritional value.  Residues and breakdown products of the higher level of chemical compounds render endocrine impacts that are not salutary.  Given that most of the medical and nutritional research is funded by the manufacturers and that metaanalysis demonstrates a positive bias of these studies, Scotland's caution may be understandable.  In the end, money talks both in terms of funding and in Scotland's robust non-GMO market.  The dynamic is what could be expected.  On the other hand, non-labeling of GMO's in the US is a pure money power play leveraged on corruption.  Shielding behind so called "scientific evidence" ignores the fact that labeling foods "kosher" or "halal" has to do with personal choice and belief, the science be damned.  This proceeds without a hitch.  So should GMO labeling. Let the market decide.

Avatar of: Max Brenner

Max Brenner

Posts: 5

Replied to a comment from St James made on August 19, 2015

August 19, 2015

Just like GMO products, pharmaceutical products are also tested by manufacturers, and results complying with FDA standards are accepted.  Why should it be different for GMOs?  Also, government-mandated labelling of GMO products feeds unsubstantiated public fear, ultimately leading to increased cost of food products.  Kosher and Halal are certification labels targetting specific market shares.  Certification labels are self-regulated, not government-regulated.  Consumers in the US already already have GMO-free producer-regulated labels: non-GMO project, GMO guard. 

Avatar of: Bob Phelps

Bob Phelps

Posts: 3

August 20, 2015

Genetically manipulated crops are the commercial products of genetic techniques. So scientists and science organisations, many without particular expetise in the life sciences or its products, are ill-equipped to try fixing GM policy decisions. Such decisions are multi-faceted and scientists are just one voice, along with shoppers, farmers, food processors, grain traders, doctors, lawyers and many others less well organised than the science lobby and its PR machine. The Scientist, like all news media, has a responsibility to present a diverse range of well-informed views, not only those of people with vested interests.

Avatar of: NamD


Posts: 3

November 27, 2015

GMO crop as we all know that Its not much safe to consume since lots of herbicides were using when planting the crops..But it depend on people choice to select  either to go GMO or  go Non GMO to have green and Natural taste of food for better health..

Nam from Bizbilla B2B Portal

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