More on BBC Radio 4 Farming Today this morning on T25, the GM maize granted approval by ACRE despite flawed and inadequate safety testing. Listen Again on http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/ram/farming_today.ram. The item is in the second half of the programme.

I haven't time to make the full transcript which the item deserves but my summary - subject to my own understanding of it - is that Alan Simpson [simpsona@parliament.uk] Labour MP for Nottingham South described how he had put down a question about the monitoring of these GM releases. Michael Meacher's reply was that there are rules for GM sugar beet: but maize like T25 are merely subject to an 'industry agreement'.

Alan Simpson drew attention to the dangers indicated by the inadequate tests which 'give science a bad name'. He said that those who breached the agreement, by, for example, allowing cattle to graze on fields planted with the test crops should be able to be called to account: and that after he had put down his question, he had heard from farm workers and observers giving specific field locations and cattle ref nos. where cattle had been allowed to graze the GM maize.

Thus he knows that the code is not being honoured or monitored.

He described how one is obliged to pay for the right to take part in the public hearings about the introduction of these GM crops! The rates are £30 to make a written submission, £50 to make an oral contribution and £80 for both!

He had paid for the full democratic package and found that the maize was approved despite the poor quality of the tests and despite the hearing having to be suspended because industry case was so full of holes...

It seems that our Government and our Civil Service, in the form, presumably, of DEFRA [wearing the old shoes of MAFF] don't require proper safety testing, let alone environmental impact assessment, before these potentially highly dangerous organism are released into our environment and our food [note that cattle were allowed to graze the test crop] and that no one with our interests at heart is monitoring what is happening. I am horrified.

Lawrence.