It shouldn't be forgotten either that there isn't even a market for GM potatoes in the US, where Monsanto's NewLeaf GM potatoes had to be withdrawn because of the lack of market acceptance.
The UK Treasury is currently desperately looking for ways to save taxpayers' money with almost no area of public life being spared, even welfare and education.
The blight resistance potato project has already consumed nearly two million pounds of public funding despite the absence of a market or a meaningful public mandate. To make matters worse, there are also non-GM blight resistant potatoes already available.
And remember this is just one GM project.
So why are we continuing to waste scarce public funds on an expensive technology that people don't want, that has a poor track record of success, that damages the environment, and that may be problematic for human health?
The UK Government needs to consider the opportunity cost, given that conventional breeding is both acceptable and delivers.
Subject: GM potatoes
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2010 23:36:53 +0200
I am concerned to read here that the Sainsbury Laboratory is testing GM potatoes:
Can you please provide an assurance that Sainsbury's is staying true to its "GM free" promise and will not be using GM potatoes, or derivatives of GM potatoes, in any of its products?
Look forward to hearing from you.
Subject: RE: GM potatoes - reply requested
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2010 15:23:52 +0100
Dear Mr Williamson
Thank you for your emails and I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you.
I would like to assure you that we do not permit the use of genetically modified crops, ingredients, additives or derivatives from genetically modified crops to be used in Sainsbury's own brand food, drink, pet food, dietary supplements and floral products. We were the first major supermarket to take this step in 1999.
The experiments that you've read about are being conducted by the Sainsbury Laboratory, which is a joint venture between the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the John Innes Foundation, UEA and the Agricultural and Food Research Council (now BBSRC). The Sainsbury Laboratory is in no way connected to Sainsbury's Supermarkets Limited.
I hope I've been able to reassure you of our commitment to keeping our products GM free. I'm grateful that you've taken the time to share your concerns with us.
NOTE; The following correspondence makes it crystal clear that there is going to be no viable market in the UK for the GM blight resistant potatoes currently being trialled by the Sainsbury Laboratory of the John Innes Centre, based in Norwich