abc welcomes Council for Science and Technology’s GM Science Update - 14/03/14

Dr Julian Little, Chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council today welcomed the publication of the GM Science Update report undertaken for the Council for Science and Technology, which reviews recent developments in the science of GM crops since 2009, reconfirming the safety of the technology, and concludes that ‘changes to the regulatory and approval process are essential.’

Commenting on the publication of the report, Dr Little stated:

“abc welcomes the Council for Science and Technology’s report, particularly its recognition that GM has the potential to ‘help achieve sustainable and sufficient global food production in the face of challenges from a growing population, climate change, and environmental degeneration,’ and that ‘there is no rational basis for the current stringent regulatory process.’ Current EU regulation has moved in the direction of increasing political influence and undermining science.
“The UK’s AgriTech Strategy has recognised the need for, and the value of, innovation in agriculture. Europe risks being left behind and it therefore remains essential that action is taken to address the dysfunctional EU approvals process so that UK farmers may, in the future, be able to realise the potential of great British biotechnology research right here in the UK. Over 18 million farmers are benefitting from GM crops internationally and UK farmers are keen to be given the choice to take advantage of the technology – recent polling of UK farmers found that 61 per cent would grow GM crops if they had the option to do so.
“abc will therefore continue to support the UK Government’s approach, and the growing coalition of organisations that recognise the need to for a sensible, fact-based approach to the use of GM and other agricultural technologies across Europe.”

The report confirms that biotech crops are among the most extensively tested foods in the history of food safety. In 2010, the European Commission concluded on the basis of over 25 years of independent research that 'there is, as of today, no scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms.' Last year, the national science academies of the EU agreed, saying that “there is no validated evidence that GM crops have greater adverse impact on health and the environment” than any other crops produced using plant breeding techniques.

If you would like any additional information please contact Andrew Marshall via, or call 0207 025 2333.


Notes to editors

 abc, comprising of six member companies, works with the food chain and research community to invest in a broad range of crop technologies – including conventional and advanced breeding techniques, such as GM.  These are designed to improve agricultural productivity by tackling challenges such as pests, diseases and changing climatic conditions, whilst reducing water usage, greenhouse gas emissions and other inputs. The companies are BASF, Bayer, Dow, Monsanto, Pioneer (DuPont) and Syngenta. Further information is available at

 The GM Science Update report was undertaken for the Council for Science and Technology by Professor Sir David Baulcombe (University of Cambridge), Professor Jim Dunwell (University of Reading), Professor Jonathan Jones (Sainsbury Laboratory), Professor John Pickett (Rothamsted Research) and Professor Pere Puigdomenech (University of Cambridge / Barcelona).

 18 million farmers are now growing 175million hectares of GM crops around the world, which is up from 600,000 in 2011. Over 90 per cent of these are small scale, resource-poor farmers in developing countries.
Source: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications,
 The European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) said that “there is no validated evidence that GM crops have greater adverse impact on health and the environment” than any other crops produced using plant breeding techniques.
Source: “Planting the future: opportunities and challenges for using crop genetic improvement technologies for sustainable agriculture”, European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC),

 The European Commission has invested over €300m into research on the safety of genetically modified organism (GMOs) over the past 25 years through 500 independent research groups.
Source: A decade of EU-funded GMO research,

 An estimated 3 trillion meals containing GM ingredients have been eaten around the world over the last 17 years without a single substantiated case of ill-health, as confirmed by the World Health Organisation has said that: ‘No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved’.