1.Owen Paterson backs UK-grown - BBC
2.GM health fears 'complete nonsense', says Owen Paterson - The Guardian
NOTE: When Owen Patterson was appointed UK environment secretary, Guardian journalist Damian Carrington wrote a piece titled, "New environment secretary Owen Paterson will worry greens".
And no wonder! Paterson is the kind of environment secretary who has campaigned against wind farms, has called for all alternative energy subsidies to be stopped, wants fracking projects accelerated, has branded anti-hunt protesters "Nazis", and wants airport expansion urgently investigated.
Guardian columnist George Monbiot commented at the time, "The appointment of Owen Paterson as environment secretary is a declaration of war on the environment, and another sign that the right of the party – fiercely opposed to anything that prevents business from doing as it wishes – has won."
According to Monbiot, "Paterson is steeped in the mythologies of the anti-environment movement... The reshuffle pushes the [Government] coalition further towards the politics of the Tea Party Republicans: in denial about about the underlying problems, opposed to democratic constraints on business, prepared to treat the planet as a dustbin. Paterson's appointment appears to exemplify the shift."
Paterson's brother-in-law, incidentally, is the arch climate sceptic, GM zealot, and free marketeer, Matt Ridley. Ridley was also the gung-ho chairman of the UK bank Northern Rock when it went belly up.
Monbiot also shows that in Paterson's attacks on wind farms he has made erroneous public statements, probably because he has simply cut and paste them from an anti-wind farm campaign group. His claims about the benefits of GM seem to be equally evidenced based!
COMMENT from Citizens Concerned About GM: Paterson claims "real environmental benefits" for GM but doesn't mention any other than reduction in pesticides, when in fact pesticide use has increased in the US with the adoption of GM crops.
What does he think these benefits are? There is no evidence of any. Even the UK government's research on the farm scale growing of GM crops (Farm Scale Evaluations) showed significant risks.
Paterson claims we need GM. But the last time the UK cabinet office looked at the technology, they could find no case for commercialisation of GM in the UK. The Parliamentary Environmental Committee earlier this year (May) said that nothing had changed since then.
So just what is the case? Farmers in the UK will not grow it unless consumers want it and they don't.
Paterson says GM is being widely used in the UK to feed animals. In which case it should be labelled. It is deceitful not to. Why won't he insist on labelling if he is so confident about GM?
Patterson says there is going to be 'a low key consultation on growing GM crops in the UK'. With who? Not citizens.
Is the consultation only with the pro-GM industry to work out how to push it on the public?
Why won't he have the consultation openly and honestly?
TAKE ACTION: As Paterson is highlighting the issue of GM animal feed coming into the UK, please write to the supermarkets saying that Paterson won't make you buy GM food, and that you don't want any GM in food or animal feed. Here is the list of addresses for UK supermarkets:
This is also another opportunity to challenge Morrisons over dropping its GM free feed policy:
1.Owen Paterson backs UK-grown genetically modified food
BBC News, 10 December 2012
*Owen Paterson said people were already unwittingly eating GM food
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has backed introducing genetically modified (GM) food production in the UK.
He said there were "real environmental benefits" to the technology and dismissed concerns about its impact on human health as "complete nonsense".
It comes amid speculation that ministers are ready to relax control on the cultivation of GM crops.
Although not illegal, to date no GM crops have been grown commercially in the British countryside.
However, the coalition has allowed small-scale cultivation trials to take place.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Paterson said: "Emphatically we should be looking at GM … I'm very clear it would be a good thing.
"The trouble is all this stuff about Frankenstein foods and putting poisons in foods.
"There are real benefits, and what you've got to do is sell the real environmental benefits."
Those in favour of the technology argue that it can increase crop yield and avoid the need for pesticides.
But there was widespread public opposition to the introduction of GM food to Britain in the 1990s.
Mr Paterson dismissed concerns about human health, arguing that widespread use of GM crops around the world meant people were already unwittingly eating GM food.
"There's about 160m hectares of GM being grown around the world," he said.
"There isn't a single piece of meat being served [in a typical London restaurant] where a bullock hasn't eaten some GM feed.
"So it's a complete nonsense. But, the humbug! You know, large amounts of GM products are used across Europe."
PM "to back GM"
The government has recently consulted on new "agri tech" measures to encourage innovation and new technologies that could boost British faming.
A ministerial response is due next year, but Mr Paterson has already said "serious consideration" should be given to GM food as part of the new strategy.
He told the newspaper he was confident David Cameron would find an "appropriate moment" to back GM food.
"I'm very clear it would be a good thing," he said. "So you'd discuss it within government, you'd discuss it at a European level and you'd need to persuade the public."
Although some Liberal Democrat ministers are reported to be open to the prospect of relaxing the rules on GM food, the party's grassroots has previously been hostile to the technology.
Last month Lib Dem farming minister David Heath told farming groups that genetically modified crops were "one of the tools in the box" but not the silver bullet to increase food production.
2.GM health fears 'complete nonsense', says Owen Paterson
The Guardian, 10 December 2012
*Environment secretary says he's confident the PM would find an "appropriate moment" to back genetically modified food
Concerns about the health implications of genetically modified (GM) crops are "a complete nonsense" according to the environment secretary, who said Britain should be "emphatically" looking at their cultivation.
Owen Paterson, whose brief includes food and rural affairs, also said he was confident that the prime minister would find an "appropriate moment" in future to back GM food and that it would be a question of persuading the public.
"Emphatically we should be looking at GM … I'm very clear it would be a good thing," he told the Daily Telegraph in an interview.
"The trouble is all this stuff about Frankenstein foods and putting poisons in foods. There are real benefits, and what you've got to do is sell the real environmental benefits."
Paterson's comments come in the wake of feelers put out by the government earlier this year to gather expert viewpoints on a future strategy for agricultural technology, a consultation process that also considered cloning and GM techniques.
Polling recently has also suggested that the UK public's concern over genetically modified food has softened in the past decade.
A survey published in March found a quarter of Britons are now unconcerned by GM food, compared with 17% nearly a decade ago, when supermarkets debated whether to introduce GM products following widespread public opposition and attacks on GM test fields in the 1990s.
The number of people "concerned" about GM has also fallen by 5%, according to the Populus survey, commissioned by the British Science Association.
Paterson went on to say that consumers were already unwittingly eating GM food on a regular basis, adding: "There's about 160 million hectares of GM being grown around the world.
"There isn't a single piece of meat being served [in a typical London restaurant] where a bullock hasn't eaten some GM feed. So it's a complete nonsense. But, the humbug! You know, large amounts of GM products are used across Europe."
On the question of the government backing GM, he added: "I'm very clear it would be a good thing. So you'd discuss it within government, you'd discuss it at a European level and you'd need to persuade the public."