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Wednesday, August 5, 1998 Published at 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK


Food protesters charged

Demonstrators against genetically modified food

Two women have been charged with conspiracy to cause criminal damage following an attack on a field of genetically-modified maize in South Devon.

The crop which is being grown near Totnes was attacked on Monday night. Twelve people were arrested.

The two charged are appearing before Kingsbridge magistrates - the remaining ten have been released on police bail.

The crop was sown in May in a field belonging to the National Institute for Agriculture Botany and has been the subject of legal challenges, protests and attacks since.

Environmental protesters fear that changes in the genetic makeup of the food we eat could have unforseeable consequences.

[ image: Nearby organic farmer Guy Watson took the farm to court]
Nearby organic farmer Guy Watson took the farm to court
A nearby organic farmer tried unsuccessfully in July to get the courts to ban the crop, saying he feared cross-pollenisation with his own plants.

More than 20 attacks have been made on genetically engineered crops around the country.

In June The Prince of Wales lent his support to the campaign against genetically engineered food.

"The lesson of BSE and other entirely man-made disasters in the cause of 'cheap food' is surely that it is the unforeseen consequences which present the greatest cause for concern," he said.

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