Tuesday, February 16, 1999 Published at 11:45 GMT
Government defends GM crops
A frozen fish-corn hybrid used for publicity
The Five Year Freeze campaign claim that the risks have not been properly assessed and that GM food products have been rushed through to "feed the profits" of biotechnology companies.
He said there was a "robust and open system" for ensuring all food containing GM material was safe before it came onto the market.
The RRI says it sees nothing in Dr Puztai's response to make them change their original conclusions.
The government was also warned on Tuesday by one of its top environment advisers to "display the utmost caution" over authorising any commercial GM crops.
Sir Crispin Tickell, convenor of the government's Panel on Sustainable Development said the government must set out a strategy "which incorporates both the medical and agricultural aspects of the GM organism problem".
"It should allow customers the right of choice, so that things are properly labelled and you know what you are buying."
Sir Crispin said no one wanted the GM food problem to be added to the list of health disasters which included the thalidomide tragedy and the BSE crisis.
The panel is an influential body, as all its members are appointed by the prime minister. In its 1999 report, the panel says the steps taken so far by the government are "no more than a first step".
Development groups involved include ActionAid, Christian Aid, the Catholic Institute for International Relations and the World Development Movement.
A spokeswoman for the Five Year Freeze campaign said: "There hasn't been adequate risk assessment done on the implications of growing these crops.
The coalition wants a five-year moratorium on the growing of GM crops for any commercial purpose, on the import of GM foods and farm crops and on the patenting of genetic resources for food and farm crops.