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GM letter: The Times, 20 May 2016

Sir, It is unsurprising but nevertheless welcome to read that there is strong scientific support for GM crops, but we shouldn’t expect any change of position among member states that have consistently opposed the technology (“GM food safe to eat, say world’s leading scientists”, May 18). While paying lip service to scientific evidence, too many politicians continue to swayed by the lobbying of the Luddite fringe of the environmentalist movement.

At heart, this debate is not about science at all, but a complex range of issues including “control” of the food chain by multinational companies that make a profit out of providing what farmers quite clearly want to buy. Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t stop there: pesticides that farmers have used safely for decades are now under real threat of being taken off the market.

The lack of scientific literacy among the public in general and politicians in particular makes it all too easy for lobbyists to sway opinion by using emotive language and hypothetical arguments.

Until the political class decides to act on the advice of independent scientists rather than Greenpeace, the European Union will continue on the downward spiral of rejecting innovation and becoming globally uncompetitive. 

Martin Livermore

Scientific Alliance, Cambridge