Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120-124)




  120. I accept the point that choice is one that, you can clamour for it, but there may be some who seek a choice, and they may not be very numerous, but, nevertheless, their right exists?
  (Mr Pearsall) Maybe I did not express myself very well. SCIMAC was established as an organisation to deliver identity preservation for GM crops; that applies as much to non-GM as it does to GM. So one of SCIMAC's objectives is to deliver choice and identity preservation along the farm supply chain. I think our position would be that that reflects current consumer aspirations and expectations. I think our position would be that regulations must be sufficiently flexible to change in response to any changing consumer patterns.

  121. So you believe that you and your stakeholders, who would participate in the definition of labelling and traceability regulations for GM production, and that you are relaxed about the fact that it appears to identify GM product as being, in that sense, completely different from other food product, which people might wish to have other elements traced for?
  (Mr Pearsall) As I said, the basis for the SCIMAC initiative was to deliver traceability, identity preservation, from the initial seed stock, along the farm supply chain and onwards to the food supply chain. I think we are not relaxed in relation to the proposals as they currently stand, and I think we would endorse the views of the Food Standards Agency, that it is impracticable to come forward with a requirement for traceability and labelling that cannot be tested or verified at the end product stage.

  122. But you are not particularly concerned about the discrimination, if you like, between GM and non-GM foods in an obligation on labelling and traceability?
  (Mr Pearsall) No. I think you can look at it with your cup half full and for it to work to the technology's advantage.

  Chairman: That is helpful, as an answer. Thank you very much for coming this afternoon. It has been very interesting, and we welcome your giving up this time. As I said earlier, we will be seeing others next week and then, having mulled over that, produce our thoughts on this issue once again.

Mr Curry

  123. See you in ten years' time?
  (Dr Turner) I am going to go home and get my Leeds United strip.


  124. I think, if the bet is open for a crop to inspect in three years' time, I will take up that offer?
  (Dr Turner) I will be pleased to take you.

  Chairman: Thank you.

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