HC Deb 02 February 1999 vol 324 c604W
Mr. Tyler

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the risks genetically modified animal feeds pose to humans. [68774]

Mr. Rooker

The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes rigorously assesses all genetically modified feed material from the point of view of the impact that such feed may have on human health.

Mr. Luff

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list his Department's responsibilities and policies in relation to genetically modified crops and the departments with which he liaises on this issue; and where the lead departmental responsibility rests for each issue. [67663]

Mr. Rooker

My Department's policy is that public health and environmental safety are the fundamental priorities on genetically modified (GM) crops. We believe that the UK agriculture industry should not be denied access to the benefits of GM technology, but that all justified concerns about it must be addressed.

MAFF shares responsibility with the Department of Health for the safety of GM foods. It also shares responsibility with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (who take the lead) on the approval of the release of GM crops into the environment. MAFF takes the lead in a number of areas relevant to GM crops; the agricultural implications of the introduction of GM crops into UK agriculture; plant breeders rights and National Listing and seed certification for all varieties of the main agricultural and vegetable species; and the approval of pesticides, including those to be used on GM herbicide tolerant crops, and GM micro-organisms to be used for plant protection purposes.

Government policy on biotechnology, including GM crops, is co-ordinated by the Ministerial Group on Biotechnology, which is chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, as announced by the Prime Minister on 21 October 1998, Official Report, column 1134. In addition, officials across Government are in regular contact on biotechnology issues.

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