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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 March, 2004, 12:16 GMT
Is GM crop decision right?
An unidentified crop field where Genetically Modified crops are grown and cultivated, UK
The UK government has agreed in principle to the commercial growing of one variety of genetically modified maize.

The decision follows five years of tests and consultation.

The first GM maize crop is unlikely to be planted before 2005 because of related legal challenges and unanswered scientific questions.

What do you think about the government's decision to allow commercial GM maize? Do you read labels to check for GM? Send us your thoughts.

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by William W, UK
Why are GM crops to be given the go-ahead despite massive public opposition and a lack of scientific investigation?

I think that we should look very closely at the interests of the most vocal anti-GM lobby. Just as certain scientists and politicians can be suspected of being too close to the industries that control GM commercialisation, it is possible that some these people have their own not-so-noble reasons for wanting to block GM technology. The scientific results for the GM maize are as plain as day - it is less harmful to biodiversity than conventially grown crops. Why can't the anti-GMers see past their prejudice?
Gordon McDougall, Dundee, Scotland

I have stayed away from politics most of my life but now this issue of GM crops is making me mad. Labour has lost all sense of what is right. Next election I will make a point to vote them out and will encourage everyone I know to do the same. It is time to rise up and take control of our country. How does the government not understand the people do not want GM?
Anthony Morton, Winchester

Like hey, did we expect any other decision from a government that consistently ignores public opinion. But I am looking forward to the next election...this time I won't be so stupid!
Russell Chamberlain, Telford, England

I think they are very misguided. Unlike the majority of the public, I have a pretty good understanding of how these foods are created and the pitfalls of such unnatural genetic modification and the horrible viruses they use to bring it about. I have received information about adverse effects of GM crops, suppressed negative research, etc. I think that the whole set-up stinks.
A. M. Wilson, Oxford, UK

There is more than enough food to feed the world
John, Wales
Widespread GM contamination has already occurred in North America, would be inevitable here, unnecessarily risking the health of the nation. There is more than enough food to feed the world.
John, Wales

Yes, of course it's right. We must not allow ourselves to be bullied and misinformed by single-issue anti-GM activists. GM technology is both safe and useful, and should be welcomed. This is the 21st Century, after all.
Nick, London

I seem to remember that we were lied to by the government about animal feed resulting in cattle getting BSE and humans CJD. How more dangerous is this?
Barry Cornell, Wokingham, England

A small step, but a significant one. I hope that this opens the way for further GM crops to be grown in the UK so that we all may benefit from the environmental advantages.
Nick Todd, Folkestone, UK

It's curious to see how many people say that we should shut up and listen to the scientists. Would those be the same scientists who said Thalidomide was safe? If GM food is virtually the same as non-GM there are two clear questions - firstly who will take liability in the event of a mistake, and secondly will these foodstuffs be clearly labelled so those who prefer not to eat them can avoid them?
John B, UK

Why is it that, just because we have technology to do things, we feel we have to?? Nature provides us with the best food possible and if we work with her we reap all the rewards of a rich countryside. How many times have we been told things are safe only to be told at a later date that the scientists/government are wrong? The government should listen to its people.
Sue Gordon, Derby, England

The issue has been biased in favour of the bio-tech companies. They are suggesting that GM should be allowed because there is no proof that there is risk. However the same burden of proof is not being applied to them in that they cannot prove that it is safe. In fact they refuse to stand over their products by accepting liability.
Peter Hawkins, Belfast

Why does the UK government persist in foisting this problem onto us?
JL, Wiltshire
I am a manager of a major supermarket and I receive more queries about GM products than any other query. Everyone wants to be assured that we will not stock any GM food. Why does the UK government persist in foisting this problem onto us?
JL, Wiltshire

When do we get a democracy in this country? When will politicians learn they are there to do what WE want? Whether it is GM crops or Iraq this country's views should reflect those of us, the people.
Andrew Milne, Largs, Ayrshire

This new GM maize crop will be used to feed livestock - and we will have no way of knowing whether the milk that we drink or the meat that we eat has come from a GM-fed animal. It sounds to me that this government really doesn't care about consumer choice, or our right to know what goes into what we eat.
Mark Wilkinson, London, UK

The number of people that swallowed the GM industry line that it will help mankind is rather worrying. Monsanto etc aren't investing millions in research to help third world peoples, they're doing it for their own profits, which will be guaranteed when they've infested the globe. And as for those claiming that GM has been going on for thousands of years, well, that is patently rubbish. No Bronze age farmer inserted fish genes into tomatoes, they just crossbred very similar and closely related species.
Greg Brown, Norwich, UK

I do not recall any manifesto statement allowing a mandate to destroy organic farming (which it will) increasing chemical pollution (which it will) and permission to arrogantly ignore the clear voice of the people. No No No, when will Blair understand no? If we cannot trust a government on food and health we can trust them on nothing.
Richard, Oxford

Yes it's right. I cannot believe that there are so many damn luddites in the UK. The British empire was built on scientific revolution. The current crumbling state of the UK is in no small way down to the re-emergence of King Ludd and his blinkered followers. Wake up people and take a chance on life.
Mike Daws, Oslo, Norway

As many people seem to be saying, the voters should chose. But those that vote against GM crops are not benefiting anyone. People should listen and not doubt what the scientists say. They have done more than five years testing on these crops and have published the findings which no one can doubt. People don't realise that with current food production, people in Britain will starve and die. And yet people pay more for food of "better quality".
Dave, Stamford, UK

I think that the Government and most scientists have my welfare at heart
G.G.Heathcote, England
I am probably the same as 99% of people in this country in that I don't know whether the GM crop decision is the right one. I, therefore, have to rely on expert opinion to help me. I think that the Government and most scientists have my welfare at heart and are not trying to poison me and am prepared to go along with their decision. The alternative is to listen to ill-informed do-gooders who know no more than I do but have some political agenda to follow.
G.G.Heathcote, England

Whatever the scientific case, I cannot see any economic justification for GM technology in food production. Already Europe produces much more food than required, with the result that the excess is dumped in the third world. The consequence of this is that a sustainable and independent agricultural economy does not develop in these countries. GM technology in food production is solely for the benefit of the companies themselves.
Nigel, Lee on Solent, UK

Most people are only getting very biased opinions from all the scaremongering stories the newspapers have decided to print. Unless unbiased information is reported then people will continue to be against anything like this as the man on the street won't bother digging to try and get hidden information. Do people know HOW they're GM? As a general rule people are afraid of change. Personally, I have no problem accepting GM crops.
Mags, Oxford, UK

As a biologist I believe that it is not possible to argue, on scientific grounds at least, that all GM crops are intrinsically risky. However, I have seen nothing to suggest that their introduction will be of any benefit whatsoever to society - their introduction merely serves to strengthen the corporate monopolies that have lobbied for their introduction. Surely governments should make policy based on the best interests of the public that they represent.
C O'Byrne, Galway, Ireland

The majority of their so called benefits would be better met with clever environmental farm management
Hugh Knowles, London
I am aware of most of the arguments against GM crops but so far I have not heard a reasonable argument as to why they should be grown here. We do not need them and the majority of their so called benefits would be better met with clever environmental farm management. There is only one reason for the government and that is the influence of big business.
Hugh Knowles, London

Let's not forget there are millions of acres of GM crops planted across North America, and have been for many years. There's clearly no associated health risk there. This whole 'debate' is just a storm in a teacup whipped up by so-called environmental groups looking to fill their subscription coffers.

This website's own poll indicates 80% of people being against GM maize. Yet our democratically elected government chooses to ignore the will of the majority. Frankly it doesn't matter to New Labour what we think - until about six months before a general election.
Chris Hollett, UK

Using GM will start the process seen with antibiotics where nature responds, then we respond back and so on until normal crops can't survive without a little GM. No hard evidence to think this but it seems to happen whenever you challenge nature. Antibiotics were worth it, is GM?
Barry Carter, Chelmsford, England

There is no economic, social or biological need for these crops
Pete, London, UK
I'm a scientist who was initially excited about the potential of GM - however the results of the field trials, and concerns raised about the safety of GM have changed my opinion. There is no economic, social or biological need for these crops - the only ones who will benefit from them are the biotech companies.
Pete, London, UK

GM crops are produced by an advanced form of cross-pollination. No-one should worry about 'contamination' of organic crops. People who purchase organic food can remain safe in the knowledge that only pesticides from an approved 'organic' list are used in cultivation, and they can remain as ignorant as before of the breeding practices used to produce disease and pest-resistant strains of plants for organic growth. They should really be arguing for using GM technology for this purpose if they want to promote the organic cause.
Susan, York, England

Are GM crops safe? Are inventions safe? Let's stop generalising. Each modified species is an individual experiment. Each one needs to be identified and tested before being released into the environment.
Graham, High Wycombe, Bucks

Do we in Europe actually need this, Aren't there warehouses filled with rotting grain that needs to be eaten rather than more crop unnecessarily grown - GM or not - only to be wasted.
David Hilton, Hudds, UK

After bothering to hold a public consultation exercise the government should listen to the opinion expressed
John, UK
After bothering to hold a public consultation exercise the government should listen to the opinion expressed, i.e. not to permit GM crops to be grown. If such consultation is an attempt to broaden democracy it cannot be ignored just because it didn't give the answer government wanted. Ultimately they'll get a similar answer when it comes to a general election!
John, UK

There is a simple way to deal with this - insist your supermarket, corner shop, cafe, take away and favourite restaurant serve and sell only GM food - demand GM food to be labelled - no one will willingly buy GM food so be vigilant about processed food too - with no demand for GM food there will be no GM crops by simple operation of the market
Tom, London

If there is insufficient evidence to make an informed decision on the risks posed by GM crops, aren't the luddites who've been trampling / uprooting field trials at every opportunity significantly to blame for this?
David, Milton Keynes, UK

The idea that the public don't understand the arguments and so shouldn't be able to prevent the introduction of GM is dangerous nonsense. The onus is upon the scientists to make the case. If the public still say no then the answer is no. I say this as a geneticist and a worker with recombinant DNA. The idea that a subsection of the population knows best and should make critical decisions regarding the shared environment is unacceptable.
Phil, Sheffield

GM crops have been eaten in the UK for years
Kate Donachie, Edinburgh, Scotland
GM crops have been eaten in the UK for years. Most of our produce is grown using pesticides and if it wasn't there would not be enough arable land to grow it. If the world had taken this approach we would never had made any progress. As the world's population grows there will be a need to find ways of growing food more productively. It is all very well sitting back now as we are alright, surely we should have some conscience for future generations.
Kate Donachie, Edinburgh, Scotland

Britain should have looked very carefully at the Canadian GM experience. It has been found that GM wheat seed has spread everywhere and pure seed, in bulk, is now impossible to find free from this contamination.
Noel Fowles, Saltspring, BC, Canada

The potential damage to the environment and human health is still unknown, and could very possibly be devastating. The only reason for going forward on this is purely economic, and therefore irresponsible on the part of those who are meant to protect the welfare of society. This is a most distressing turn of events. The people's voice should be heard on this issue, but, as in the US, government and big business prevail.
dniemann, New York, USA

I'm against all GM crops until further research is carried out. The government has yet again gone against public opinion. Hopefully this will be reflected at the next election!
Mike, London

GM crops have the potential to feed the starving
Fletcher, Poole, UK
GM crops have the potential to feed the starving. We cannot allow fear and ignorance to stop this from happening. The public in general will probably never be able to understand the scientific complexities of this subject - but the scientists must study until all the impacts are known. Only then should it be commercially produced.
Fletcher, Poole, UK

The time has come for non-violent direct action to stop GM. The country has clearly said a very loud NO to GM, the scientists have said NO, even economists have said NO, and insurers have said they wont be ensuring anyone who goes ahead with GM against damage. And when everything goes wrong a few years down the line, it'll be tax payers that foot the bill. You can stop irreversible genetic pollution, sign the Green Gloves Pledge today - www.greengloves.org
Joss Garman, UK

I am not hugely knowledgeable about the GM debate but when the best the opponents can do is bring out the old line about not knowing the long term effects I think were probably safe. Long term effects in most environmental campaigners minds are testing things for 25 years effectively blocking any innovation no matter how safe.
Dominic Smith, Reading, Berks

I don't think there has ever been an issue with such a high majority of the public against it
Why is it that everything this Government does is done in such a hurry? Surely they must now have the record for badly thought through legislation that could have been useful if it had been properly prepared and researched. I don't think there has ever been an issue with such a high majority of the public against it as GM. There is so much evidence from other countries of contamination and problems and UNEXPECTED effects. Why not do the trials without the Atrazine, or is this like the War - being done because George Bush says so? I understand this Maize will be for animal food but I wouldn't want to eat meat that had been fed this Maize.

It is alarming that companies have refused to accept any responsibility if things go wrong with GM crops. This suggests two things to me: firstly, they are not very confident that there will be no problems; secondly, the scale of any problems will be huge and hence extremely expensive for whoever has to clear them up, if indeed this is even possible. Until such time as companies are prepared to guarantee that they will put right any negative impact, GM crops should not be planted.
Sue, Barcelona, Spain

As with other important issues this government is ignoring the immense public objection to GM crops and going ahead with a potentially harmful and very little researched proposal. If we choose to mutate our food and we are what we eat, what will that make us?
M Bennett, London, UK

I like the way that the anti GM people like to portray the companies producing GM seeds as "Big Business" motivated purely by profit. Presumably all those supermarkets selling overpriced organic food aren't big businesses motivated by profit and are charging double the price of ordinary food out of some philanthropic instinct?
Peter, Nottingham, UK

Why has the government not learned from the mistakes that led to the BSE outbreak?
Jenny Hubbard Young, Atlanta GA
Why has the government not learned from the mistakes that led to the BSE outbreak? Too busy salivating at the prospect of large donations from Monsanto et al? I hope the Welsh Assembly has the courage to keep saying NO!
Jenny Hubbard Young, Atlanta GA (and Brecon)

Doom merchants and nay sayers have tried to put a stop to all scientific advances. If we had listened to them we would still living in caves.
Andy Ross, UK

Cross contamination will inevitably result in the pollution of all we grow, eventually and judging from the state of our railways after privatisation, it would be sheer folly to entrust the genetic modification of our food to corporate global business.
Amy Womack, London

If farm biodiversity is so important, why were the GM crops measured against the worst practice agriculture has to offer instead of the best, namely organic farms? If the GM wonder crops are really that good, then surely they should be measured against the best!
Robert Dunn, Lancaster, UK

It does not matter how much opposition to the GM crops there is in the UK, it is not a decision that our government can make as they have to allow the planting of any crop approved at EU level. It's just another example of how our politicians have handed control of the government of the United Kingdom to Brussels.
Brian Willis, Slough, UK

No. There is absolutely no justification for going ahead with growing GM crops. The only voices we hear in favour of GM foods are those of the lobbyists and 'sponsored' scientific researchers.
David Brower, Glasgow

Rather than insulting us, answer our concerns!
CW, Penrith, UK
I'm an environmentalist; I also have a science degree, as many environmentalists do. We are not luddite idiots, and I'm fed up with being branded as such. Rather than insulting us, answer our concerns! My objection is not so much that GM is bad for the environment, but that it has unknown and possibly catastrophic effects on human health, is uncontrollable, irreversible, is incompatible with other non-GM types of agriculture, and is completely unnecessary considering the current food excess, and lack of evidence of consistent higher GM crop yields. None of these issues have been addressed by the UK field trials, and so-called science. I also find it disgusting that the government wastes so much money asking a committee to investigate the issue, and canvassing public opinion only to ignore it yet again.
CW, Penrith, UK

This cynical action proves to the nation beyond any doubt that the government's so-called consultation processes are a total sham. Quite clearly, their desire to satisfy the profit lust of the biotech companies is so strong that they are content even to ignore their own advisors. Hardly government on behalf of the greater good is it?
Keith Calder, Richmond, UK

GM crops have got the go ahead for two reasons. Firstly, public opinion is wrong and the government is not going to be persuaded on an issue on the basis of the opinion of large numbers of uninformed people. The second reason is that this technology is already 20+ years old and well proven. Only people who are ignorant of scientific methodology claim a lack of scientific evidence. Unfortunately, few people seem to have any ability to question their own judgement on a rational basis.
M Home, Aberystwyth, UK

Why did the government bother with the farce of public consultation? Someone's pockets must be getting well lined for GM crops to be approved in the face of such huge public opposition. Shame on you Labour - in the pocket of the global nationals once again!
Justin, Brighton, UK

How come the public have such strong opinions on this subject? I doubt 99% even know how GM works let alone understand the implications well enough to have an informed opinion.
Gavin, Oxford

This decision is an astounding success for corporate greed
Jim Kenney, Herts, UK
This decision is an astounding success for corporate greed over democracy and common sense. Did the politicians learn nothing from BSE?
Jim Kenney, Herts, UK

The public voted an overwhelming 'no' to GM because they knew that there were so many vested interests that getting to the truth was impossible, and the potential risks are very great. The government ignored them and so declared itself also to have a vested interest. The sooner we have a government that listens and doesn't always think it knows best the better, but you won't ever get that while Blair/Brown are anywhere near power.
R Scott-Watson, Fairfield, UK

Of course it is the wrong decision, which flies in the face of the whole consultation exercise that the government undertook at huge public expense. Can someone explain why they wasted all that time and money if they intended to ignore the outcome?
Graham Shelton, Oxford, England

Great news for consumers and farmers
Becci, Loughborough, England
It's about time GM maize was allowed to be grown commercially. It will produce more food at a cheaper cost, great news for consumers and farmers. I am personally not worried at all about possible health risks of GM foods. They've been tested for years, and I trust the scientists and government enough to believe they would have done a thorough job of it all, making it safe for consumption.
Becci, Loughborough, England

While not opposed to GM crops in principle, I query why the GM industry is not prepared to put its money where its mouth is by offering compensation to anyone who can prove they have been damaged by GM crops. I certainly reject any suggestion that the rest of us should, via the public purse, underwrite these risks, rather than those who hope to profit from this technology.
Peter North, Sutton, UK

I am very glad that the government has had the courage to make a decision based on facts and on the opinions of scientists, who have devoted their lives to understanding problems like this. Too often we are forced into following the views of those who are more bothered with scaremongering and sounding important than they are about truth and understanding.
Mike, Waterbeach, England

Yet again the government is being "irresponsible", to quote the Audit Commission. We do not need to grow more produce - the EU's food mountain is big enough as it is!
Jonathan, UK

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this issue, the UK does not need to grow GM crops. Therefore, while the slightest doubt remains about safety, why on earth should we take the risk? I also fear that this could signal the end of organic farming as I understand it. How can it be possible to stop the bees etc from cross pollinating non GM crops?
Kay Beresford, London, UK

We don't want and we don't need GM crops. Their long-term effects on human health have not been tested.
Jessica Hodge, Nailsworth, UK

Without informed debate, how can anyone decide?
Tom, Burnley, UK
The biggest problem with the GM "debate" is that the opposition is either ignorant and hysterical ('GM crops ate my hamster'), or naive and bigoted. Without informed debate, how can anyone decide? The best thing is to go ahead and see what happens. It is fatuous to claim that it will then be impossible to restore the status quo.
Tom, Burnley, UK

Seeds grown by the companies that specialise in making fertilisers and pesticides? Sounds like a self-fulfilling cycle, does it not? This is for corporate profit; not the good of the farmer, environment or consumer.
David, UK/USA

This is an appalling decision. I am very opposed to the idea of toying with nature, and think that this decision is very ill-thought out, and irreversible. Also, why bother with a massive and very expensive public consultation then take no notice of the overwhelming public opinion?
Chris, UK

Living as I do in a country in which it is now impossible to find a tomato that tastes like anything other than cardboard due to genetic manipulation, I sincerely hope that the UK government reconsiders its decision before it is too late. Genetically modified foods spread like a cancer, as we have seen with the destruction of the world's corn crib in Central America. I am also at a loss to explain why consumers would bother even considering GM crops, taking into account the fact that most of them taste like (unappetising) tree bark. I hope the UK populace has enough sense to not buy the GM maize, at the least.
Bryan Bailey, Charlotte NC, USA

I'm opposed as all too often scientific zeal overlooks some small, but important factor. There are too many things in nature which remain hidden for a generation at least. Five years is not enough, i.e. the public are to become guinea pigs. It will be interesting to see how the rates of allergies change over the next 25 years.
Stephen Carlin, Bangor, Northern Ireland

The government surveys the people for their opinion regarding GM crops. The people overwhelmingly say they don't want GM crops. The government plants GM crops. Roll on election time! Gerry Noble, Salisbury, UK

GM means more pesticides, not less. One of the main 'advantages' of GM crops is that you can douse them with very strong pesticides, which they have been modified to be resistant to. Who wants to eat that?
Robert, London, UK

We said no to this in the recent public consultation. That means no.
Neil, Wrexham, UK

We will be unable to go back and change
Clive Wilkinson, Henley-on-Thames

If allowed this will be without doubt the worst decision this government has made in its lifetime to date. The potential damaging and far reaching consequences could be with us forever and we will be unable to go back and change them. Clive Wilkinson, Henley-on-Thames, UK

Another decision made against the wishes of public opinion. Maybe the government has carried out field trails by eating a GM crop and has lost the ability to hear!
Brian, Sheffield, UK

It seems that where the interests of big business are concerned, absolutely nothing is sacred to this Government, not even our precious eco system.
Chris, Berkely, UK

This decision will ruin the one great success story of British agriculture - organic farming. Experience in the US has shown that contamination of non GM crops by their GM neighbours has reached over 80%. GM producers and GM farmers must pay compensation when (not if) contamination occurs.
Gill Ward, Lancashire, UK

Yet again the government completely ignores public opinion, as well as the recommendations of its own committees. Do we really live in a democracy? Despite all the protestations of safety from the biotech companies, I think it's very telling that they don't want to be held financially accountable if things do go wrong in future.
Kim Richmond, Aberdeen, UK

We have been eating GM crops for centuries. Without modifying plants we wouldn't have the crops we know and eat today. This is fear of new technology methods. Nothing is risk free, even the old methods of cross pollination did not come without risk. I do not check labels for GM. I am quite happy to eat GM. People have been eating Soya for years!
Annette Lamb, York, UK

Five years of extensive trials have found no detrimental affects on the environment
Steve, Guildford, England
Good - common sense prevails at last! Five years of extensive trials have found no detrimental affects on the environment. What the nay-sayers seem to forget is that GM means less pesticides and herbicides, which without doubt do harm the environment. The only people who will be upset are the "Soil Association" and their supporters, who are worried about the consequences for their "Organic" food rip off (pay twice the price for zero nutritional benefit!).
Steve, Guildford, England

As a bee keeper I am worried about G.M crops. I have no control over where my bees feed.
Eric layer, Sittingbourne

I work for DEFRA and I don't recall anyone where I work being in favour of GM. I think its a political decision made by the government and, like the Iraq war, if they want to do something they will - regardless of what the voters want.
J Hendrix, Cheshire

GM research to date has not been independent nor thorough enough. Over 90% of it has been driven by the over-powerful commercial interests of a few large Biotechnology companies. In particular, whilst these same companies vehemently oppose accepting full liability for all unknown consequences that could possibly occur as a result of GM in the future, whether environmental (e.g. soil residues, gene transfer, superweeds, habitat destruction) or human health (e.g. immune reaction, allergies) the government is very wrong to accept this research and give the go ahead.

No! No! No! to GM!
Colin Hills, Fleet, England
The damage done to US farmer's crops (organic/"normal farming") through the planting of GM seed is enough proof that we should not go down that path. People's health is more important than corporate profits and the UK with the EU should refuse to accept the pressures of the US corporate interests. There is no turning back once GM crops are planted so No! No! No! to GM!
Colin Hills, Fleet, England

If, as supporters of GM technology say, there is no risk associated with it, why won't the biotechnology companies accept liability in the event of something going wrong?
CW, Penrith, UK

Britain is supposed to be a democratic system of government FOR the people BY the people. Where are the vast majority of people asking for GM crops? Big business is running the show, government is running scared and the people will be running the risk!
Paul Villa, Wales, UK

Any decision to commercialize GM maize would be based on bad science, even though Mrs Beckett will say that she is forced by "the science" to agree to the listing of Chardon LL. The Environmental Audit Committee has pointed to some of the bad science already - and there is plenty more, such as that published in Nature last week. There is great scientific uncertainty still - and any responsible government would have invoked the precautionary principle to maintain the "freeze" on the listing of GM crop varieties.
Brian John, Newport, Pembs, UK

I believe that there hasn't been enough research into the possible long term effects of allowing commercial growing of GM crops. In the US and Canada some crops are causing harm as weeds become weed killer resistant meaning stronger and stronger doses of weed killers are required. Also the in the UK trials GM crops were compared to crops from intensive farming to see if there was less environmental damage, what about against organic agriculture?
Pete, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The motive for using GM crops is purely one of profit
Andrew Thomas, Swansea
The motive for using GM crops is purely one of profit. Once again, the farmers are purely interested in cutting costs like they did when feeding cows to cows (which started the BSE outbreak) or avoiding vaccination (which started the foot and mouth outbreak). It's the same old story.
Andrew Thomas, Swansea

I fully support the Government decision to grow GM crops. With the advent of global warming we may find ourselves in the position where we can't grow enough food to feed all the people on the planet. GM crops may increase the size of our crops and there ability to adapt to the changing climate. We should also remember that people opposed the start of the industrial revolution as they did not understand what was happening.
David Day, Hamilton, Scotland

This situation is ridiculous. We have so called environmentalists who clearly do not have the experience or knowledge to understand the science involved arguing against the scientists who do and against a technology that if used correctly would potentially benefit the environment.
Dr. Pam Malarry, Cambridge, UK

I think any utilization of existing technologies to increase crop yields is a good thing as long as it is deemed safe. Like it or not, food is not an infinite resource and GM crops maximize the resources that we do have.
Scott Handel, Arlington, VA USA

You cannot contain genetically modified strains from the standard variety.
Phillip Holley, Cambridgeshire, UK
The question is not one of scale. The issues with genetic modification is whether or not it happens at all. You cannot contain pollination by either wind or insect so you cannot contain genetically modified strains from the standard variety. It's is this concern that creates so much objection. I firmly believe that's it's a development that we can all happily do without.
Phillip Holley, Cambridgeshire, UK

I don't know what the fuss is all about. It is already too late - it is already in the environment!
Tom Salmon, Swindon, Wilts

It's the only sensible decision. Those who are anti-GM would no doubt have tried to ban mankind's taming of fire on the grounds that it could possibly be dangerous. Some of them probably wouldn't even have come down from the trees in the first place because they thought walking on the ground was going to be too risky! I want the opportunity to buy GM foods and reap the benefits they offer humankind for the future.
David Moran, Scotland/Australia

The biggest problem with GM is not the technology itself, but the application of the technology. This move will result in large multi-nationals being able to patent and therefore 'own' strains of crops, engineer them so that they do not naturally propagate (so farmers have to buy new seeds each season) and produce crops that are dependent on additives (supplied by the same multi-national, of course). Anyone who thinks that this will help solve world poverty is living in cloud cuckoo land.
Dave, Swansea, Wales

The world's population is increasing. The amount of arable farm space is not - in fact it is decreasing. To support a growing population we need to get more produce from a decreasing amount of farm space. If famine is unacceptable then we have to choose stronger pesticides/fungicides or we could try using disease resistant GM crops. The organic alternative is only suitable for the rich (I can tell that this is true every time I browse supermarket "Organic" sections). GM crops will allow us to buy pesticide free produce at a reasonable price. The battle is already over.
John Bucknall, Derby, UK

It is a cautious and balanced approach
Mark G, Evesham, UK
I support the planting of GM maize in this country - I also support the fact that several other strains were shown in the trials to be unsuitable for widespread use just yet. It is a cautious and balanced approach and only the extremists, who nothing will satisfy, on either side of the argument that are still moaning.
Mark G, Evesham, UK

As far as I am concerned they can plant as much GM crops as they. All that I want is to have the freedom to choose whether I, and my children, eat them or not - and that means proper controls on cross-pollination and effective labelling. If these two things can't be guaranteed then planting should not be allowed.
Phil Britton, Whitley Bay, UK

The Government continues to incur massive opposition to GM crops but foolishly continues to push ahead with its GM folly in the hope that the UK public will change its mind and accept GM. But why should we take risks with GM crops when perfectly natural varieties already exist in abundance? Wake up Tony!
Ron Baxter, Lancashire

Should UK grow GM maize?
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