Environmental Audit Committee

18 September 2003 GM FOOD - EVALUATING THE FARM SCALE TRIALS


18 September 2003 GM FOOD - EVALUATING THE FARM SCALE TRIALS

The first results from the Government's GM crops farm scale trials are to be published on 16 October 2003. The three year programme of research was designed to test herbicide regimes used with specific GM crops against traditional farming methods in terms of their impact on biodiversity.  Under a voluntary agreement, industry and Government agreed that there would be no further commercial plantings of GM crops until the results of the trials had been assessed.

The Environmental Audit Committee will be examining both the design and operation of the trials and the implications for future commercialisation of GM crops in the UK. In particular, the Committee's inquiry will address:

1. The adequacy of the design on the farm scale trials and their ability to answer the questions posed at the outset of the trials;

2. The conduct and operation of the trials

3. The ways in which the results of the farm scale trials will be integrated with policy and decision-making.

4. The implications of the trial results for Government and other decision-makers; and

5. The costs and benefits of GM food, bearing in mind the potential market, in the light of the farm scale trials and the recent Strategy Unit report.

Written submissions are invited from interested parties and individuals to reach the Committee by 17th November 2003.  The Committee has deliberately chosen narrow terms of reference for its inquiry but those submitting memoranda should feel free to set their evidence in a broader context where necessary.   A brief guidance note on the preparation and submission of written evidence is available on request (please call 020 7219 6150) or 

( www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/environmental_audit.cfm).

Notes for Editors

1. Details of all the Committee's inquiries, together with its Reports and other publications, are available on the internet at the Committee's homepage.

2. The Committee last reported on GM food in 1999 before the farm scale trials commenced.  Its report, GMOs and the Environment: Co-ordination of Government Policy, (HC 384, session 1998-99) can be found on the same website.

3. The Committee expects oral evidence sessions to commence in November 2003.