Peter Melchett tells it how it is:
"Sir John's anti-organic prejudice is matched by his love of GMOs. The FSA's own consumer committee has described the FSA's GM literature as "biased" in favour of GM, and the FSA has been caught out deliberately suppressing a verdict of its own "citizens' jury" opposing commercial growing of GM crops in the UK."
Food row rumbles on
The Guardian, Wednesday May 28, 2003
The head of the food standards agency, Sir John Krebs, says (Letters, May 27) that "no independent scientific evaluation" has ever shown that organic food "is healthier".
No healthier, that is, than the chickens stuffed with water, beef and pig waste, and the chickens still laced with antibiotics, that you have revealed over the last few days. No healthier than non-organic beef, when 20 years ago the Soil Association banned the feeding of cows' brains to other cows, which kept organically reared cows free of mad cow disease. No healthier than the food that can contain residues of the 430 chemicals allowed in non-organic farming, compared to just four under Soil Association standards. No healthier than food that can contain any of 290 food additives approved for use across the EU, compared to only 32 permitted in organic food.
Sir John, in his determination to ignore government ministers such as Elliot Morley and Michael Meacher, also ignores numerous independent scientists in the UK and abroad. Dr Vyvyan Howard of the developmental toxico-pathology research group at the University of Liverpool says: "The best method of reducing exposure to potentially harmful pesticides would be to consume organically grown food".
The Kings Fund, an independent medical charity, says:"Some pesticides are endocrine disrupters, and implicated in cancers and miscarriages. The use of synthetic fertilisers, plant breeding, and longer delays between harvesting and consumption have led to reduced trace element and vitamin content in food". Many research publications have shown that organically produced foods have higher amounts of beneficial minerals, essential amino acids and vitamins.
Sir John's anti-organic prejudice is matched by his love of GMOs. The FSA's own consumer committee has described the FSA's GM literature as "biased" in favour of GM, and the FSA has been caught out deliberately suppressing a verdict of its own "citizens' jury" opposing commercial growing of GM crops in the UK.
Sir John says the FSA only represents consumers' interests - in which case it seems a little careless to have lost the confidence of both the Consumers' Association and the National Consumers' Council over his pro-GM campaigns. And what about the interests of consumers who want to avoid pesticide residues, animals routinely treated with antibiotics and poultry adulterated with pork and beef DNA? Do they count, Sir John?