Ireland to take "positive" attitude to GMOs

Inter-ministerial group supports development of regulated biotechnology industry

A report drawn up by Irish officials has recommended that the government should promote genetic modification (GM) in agriculture and food because the sector will have a "long-term strategic importance". The report also calls for a comprehensive regulatory structure to be created to ensure application of the "precautionary approach". Its findings have been endorsed by the government, which says it has already "arranged for the implementation of the recommendations".

The report focuses on how Ireland should maximise benefits and minimise risks of using GMOs. It calls for development of "protocols governing the management of GM crops in field trials" as well as plans for an eventual programme of commercial growing, to be regulated by an "independent and fully-resourced regulatory system". The government should also ensure that independent research into GM plant varieties be conducted in Ireland, it says.

The inter-ministerial group calls for the biotechnology industry to be as open as possible, for the government to support efforts at EU level to ensure labelling and traceability of foods containing GMOs and for the establishment of a national biotechnology ethics committee.

The document was prepared after a public consultation on GMOs and a resulting report by the environment ministry (ENDS Daily 24 August 1998).

Follow Up:
Irish industry ministry, tel: +353 1 631 2121, and the full report.

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