Fresh Produce Consortium welcomes GM debate as the Government examines how to feed world's growing population

The Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) has welcomed a constructive debate on the potential use of GM technology following the publication of a report today (Wednesday) by the Royal Society on the future of agriculture.

The report, entitled Reaping the Benefits: Towards a Sustainable Intensification of Global Agriculture, suggests that GM crops will be necessary to feed the world's growing population.

It follows warnings made on Tuesday by the Government's chief scientist, Professor John Beddington, at the CABI Global Summit in London.

There, he warned that there will be a 50% global increase in demand for food by 2030 and that "we have to recognise that there's a serious need to adapt".

FPC chief executive Nigel Jenney said: "...the Fresh Produce Consortium will continue to press the UK government and others to ensure that the industry has the necessary tools to provide a sustainable supply of fresh produce."

"Within this context we believe that it is important that new technologies, including genetically modified products, should be considered based on sound science, case by case, and that informed decisions are taken after full consultation between government, the industry and consumers."

Jenney's comments also follow the news that the Food Standards Agency is conducting a new 12-month public consultation on GM food on behalf of the government to find out if the public mood has changed towards GM produce.

Chairman Dr Julian Little of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), which supports the use of GM technology, said: "We welcome the recent announcement by the FSA that it will be launching a public engagement programme on GM foods, as it recognises the need to explore the tools that will be necessary to increase food production in a sustainable way."


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