HC Deb 08 July 2003 vol 408 c690W
Mrs. Spelman

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development (1) if he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards genetically modified food aid by(a) the United Kingdom and (b) other donors; [123643]

(2) what actions his Department has taken to persuade countries to accept genetically modified food aid from donor countries. [123644]

Hilary Benn

DF1D's approach to food aid is guided by the following principlesRecipient governments should be given adequate information on the type of food they receive and its characteristics, including whether genetically modified; Recipient governments should be allowed to decide on its acceptability; and Donors should respect the decisions of recipients and accommodate them as far as possible. For example, if milled cereals are preferred rather than whole grain to avoid GM grain being planted as seed then this should be arranged for.

Statements by the European Community and the World Food Programme embody the same principles.

DFID has been actively engaged in helping central and southern African governments to understand the issues associated with GM food aid. Staff in our in-country offices have been involved in discussion with the World Food Programme and with governments on the acceptability of grain containing genetically modified material as food aid. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Clare Short), former Secretary of State for International Development discussed the issues with President Mwanawasa of Zambia and last year DFID organised a fact-finding visit by Zambian scientists to London to meet a range of representatives from Government and civil society.

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