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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 05:47 GMT 06:47 UK
Councils urged to go GM-free
Police advance on GM protesters
Feelings run high over GM crops
The campaign against genetically-modified (GM) crops has been stepped up with a call for all local councils in Wales to declare themselves GM-free zones.

An alliance of campaign groups have made a joint plea for local authorities to put on record their opposition to GM.

They also want them to ban any GM ingredients from their catering, including school meals.

The demand comes shortly before the UK Government is due to report on the results of its public debate on the issue.

We cannot afford to gamble with the health of the nation
Campaigner Brian John
The organisations involved are the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW), National Federation of Women's Institutes Wales, GM Free Cymru and Friends of the Earth Cymru.

Gareth Vaughan, president of the FUW said: "The FUW has consistently campaigned for a GM-free Wales, not only because we believe that insufficient research has been conducted on the long term effects of growing GM crops but also because consumers simply don't want these products.

'Clean, green'

"The union is keen to promote Wales' clean, green methods of food production.

"It's clear to us that our farmers will enjoy a marketing advantage by promoting our food as being GM-free - a status that will strike a chord with concerned consumers throughout the world."

The anti-GM route
Ask the EU to exempt their areas from GM consent
Keep services like school meals free of GM ingredients
Ensure land is not used for GM crops
The groups have written to all Welsh councils and National Park authorities outlining what action they could take.

The campaigners want other councils to follow the lead of areas such as Pembrokeshire, Flintshire and Denbighshire, which have already passed resolutions opposing GM crops. A number of English councils have done the same.

Brian John of GM Free Cymru said GM crops had introduced a "major change into the human food chain.
Oil seed rape
Several local councils have already declared their opposition to GM

"The effects on human health are as yet unknown," said Dr John.

"Until proper research, including full clinical trials, has been carried out, we cannot afford to gamble with the health of the nation."

Rhian Connick, head of the National Federation of Women's Institutes in Wales said its members were worried that too little was known about the impact of GM.

"WI members have still to be assured that GM crops and food are safe and until proper research has been completed then Wales should remain GM free," she said.

The groups are supported by a number of other organisations such as the Organic Strategy Group, The Soil Association, Welsh Beekeepers Association and Welsh Black Cattle Society.




SEE ALSO:
GM turn-off for shoppers
07 Aug 03  |  Wales
'Citizens' jury' backs GM food
08 Apr 03  |  Berkshire
GM crop wreckers convicted
02 Apr 03  |  Wales


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