Opposition to introduction of biotechnology

December 18, 1998

* The opposition of "green" movements to the widespread introduction of biotechnology could be "disastrous" for food safety and for the environment, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned this week, writes Kam Patel.

Mark Cantley, head of the OECD's biotechnology unit, told an international conference on public perceptions of biotechnology in Brussels that the OECD had argued for ten years that the safety assessment of genetically modified organisms raised the same issues as traditional manipulation.

He said policy-makers seemed more concerned with public opinion than with public interest.

At the same conference, however, Julian Kinderlerer, assistant director of the Sheffield-based Institute of Biotechnology Law and Ethics, said that the implications of biotechnology for developing countries had been "insufficiently addressed". He called for laws to ensure the acceptability of products exported from, or imported to, countries with no history of effective regulation.

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