NOTE: If anyone wonders why Owen Paterson is proving such a disastrous UK Environment Minister, here's an obvious answer: "It's worth noting that his brother-in-law, and close friend, is science writer, Times columnist and peer Matt Ridley - who is in many ways Paterson's personal think tank.
That adds to his own knowledge of the subject, and gives him a handy route to overcome flawed analyses sometimes presented to him by civil servants."
Ridley, for anyone who doesn't know, is a rightwing GM-loving green-hating free market fundamentalist, and climate change sceptic to boot, who presided over the “high-risk, reckless business strategy” of the Norther Rock bank that ended in financial disaster!
Happily, the UK's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg seems less than persuaded by Paterson's gung ho approach to GM. That's hardly surprising. Paterson has already been caught out talking nonsense about a whole series of issues, not least Golden Rice.
And the article below quotes Paterson as saying, "There is nothing new about the idea of a GM tomato because it is available as tomato paste." He offers this as proof that UK consumers are already happily chomping into GM foods. But although two UK supermarket chains did at one time offer GM tomato paste for sale, they both had to withdraw it as consumer awareness grew and the sales went through the floor. And the last tube of Paterson's GM tomato paste was, in fact, withdrawn from sale nearly a decade and a half ago!!
Incidentally, while Paterson wants children to eat GM foods, "at home in the Cotswolds, Samantha Cameron [the wife of Paterson's boss] sensibly shops at Daylesford Farm Shop, a resolutely organic store that proudly never stocks GM foods and sells organic vegetables, meat, baked goods, and dairy products produced on the farm." And most of the leading GM-promoting politicians' families follow the Camerons' GM-averse example.
Clegg urges cautious approach over GM crops and says he has never "knowingly" fed his children "Frankenstein" foods
Daily Mail, 28 June 2013
*He said choosing GM foods isn't an issue as they're not readily available in the UK
*Mr Clegg's views are at odds with Environment Secretary Owen Paterson
*Just days ago Mr Paterson said that GM foods are safe and affordable
Asked on his weekly radio phone-in on LBC 97.3 whether he would give his children GM food, the Lib Dem leader said: "I don't knowingly feed my children GM food.
"I think what you have got to do on this very vexed issue is just always be led by the science, be cautious, take cautious steps, don't obviously take risks, particularly where people have concerns about contamination between GM crops and non-GM crops.
"It is like a lot of these dilemmas, it is about getting the right balance.
"I take science-based precautionary approach. I would never say "no" for ever to new technologies - I don't think we should do that in life generally - but you have got to approach it cautiously.
"That is what the European Union has been doing for some years now." Mr Clegg said.
He said that in practice the issue of whether to eat GM foods did not generally arise as they were not generally available in the UK.
"To be honest I can't ever knowingly remember picking up anything in the supermarket, does this say whether it is GM or not. It is not the basis on which we feed our children."
His remarks are at odds with the government's push to get the European Union to overturn its ban on the commercial growing of GM crops.
Mr Clegg said: "If you don't grow the stuff in the first place you can hardly feed it to your children."
But Mr Paterson said last week that GP crops were probably safer than conventional food and offer "wonderful opportunities to improve human health".
Asked if he "would feed his children a GM tomato" he said:
"Yes of course - because they are bound to have eaten it already.
"There is nothing new about the idea of a GM tomato because it is available as tomato paste, as derivatives that have got into some soya products which will almost certainly have had GM in them.
"Millions of British citizens will got to the supermarket in the course of this week, they will buy products where the animal has been fed GM feed."
The Cabinet Minister said he wanted consumers to be able to walk into a supermarket and choose between organic potatoes or blight-resistant GM varieties.
David Cameron has also said there is a "role" for GM food.
Last week, his official spokesman declined the repeated opportunities to say whether Mr Cameron would be prepared to eat them or considers them safe.
His official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister's view is that all food on shelves has to be safe. The scientific evidence must be examined properly."