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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 06:01 GMT 07:01 UK
'Citizens' jury' backs GM food
Anti-GM protestors
Controversy over GM crops will continue after the "jury's" decision
A "citizens' jury" sitting in judgement on genetically modified (GM) food has found in its favour - but with provisos.

The social experiment designed to gauge public opinion was designed by researchers who selected 15 people from Slough, Berkshire, to form the "jury".

In a live vote broadcast over the internet on Monday, nine of the 15 decided they had heard enough to believe GM foods should be made available to UK consumers in shops.

However, all 15 jurors - including the six who voted against - agreed further measures were needed before any products went on sale.

They want to see GM food labelled with a special logo.

Government decision

The experiment was conducted on behalf of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the board of which will consider the results before making its submission to a wider debate on GM technology.

Among those who addressed the "jury" were representatives from Friends of the Earth, the United States Food and Drug Administration, GM agriculture firm Bayer Crop Science and the Consumers' Association.

The government has said it will consider the outcome of a public debate before deciding whether to allow GM crops to be grown commercially in the UK.

According to the FSA, the research company working on its behalf chose Slough because it contained a cross-section of the population and was close to London.

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