Leaked report indicates GM-crops a go in UK

February 19,2004, just-food.com: The British government will allow the cultivation of genetically modified crops in the UK despite continued public opposition, cabinet committee papers passed to the Guardian newspaper reveal.

According to the leaked minutes, government ministers decided eight days ago to permit the first commercial plantings of GM maize. The notes also indicate that the decision to move forward was made in full evidence that the public is unlikely to be receptive.

There is a strong groundswell of opposition to the introduction of genetically modified crops, with a string of public opinion surveys indicating a distaste for the technology.

Nevertheless, ministers are reported to have decided that simply upholding a ban on GM crops would be “the easy way out” and “an irrational way for the government to proceed,” the paper reported.

The leaked minutes of the committee meeting, which was attended by senior cabinet ministers including foreign secretary Jack Straw and environment secretary Margaret Beckett, say optimistically: "Opposition might eventually be worn down by solid, authoritative scientific argument."