UK launches agbiotech advisory body

Broad-based commission designed to be "the people's voice" on GM issues in agriculture

An official UK advisory body launched yesterday on the environmental implications of genetic modification (GM) in agriculture should be the voice of the people on GM issues, according to the government. The new agriculture and environment biotechnology commission (AEBC) was promised last year, alongside creation of a new food standards agency and a human genetics commission (ENDS Daily 25 May 1999).

The AEBC will have 20 members, drawn from consumers and environmental groups, the agricultural biotechnology industry and the academic and research communities. Cabinet office minister Mo Mowlam said that the broad membership would "ensure that the commission looks beyond the science and beyond the regulatory framework" and "explores the issues that matter to people most".

"I and my [ministerial] colleagues...recognise that people have concerns and fears about GM crops, Dr Mowlam said. "We firmly believe this new commission will help us to meet and address these."

Follow Up:
UK cabinet office, tel: +44 20 270 1131, press release, and website of the AEBC.

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