Miles to go

Friday 31 December 1999

the European Commission (eu) has said that us agriculturists still have a long way to go before they can win over Europeans on the issue of genetically-modified organisms ( gmo ), a European Commission (ec) official said. Tassos Haniotis, counsellor (agriculture), for the ec , said Europeans are still skittish over crop modifications after a series of food crises in recent years.

"Most of the problem is due to lack of consumer confidence," Haniotis said at a conference on genetically-modified crop issues sponsored by the Institute of Food Technologists, a Chicago-based scientific society. "Unfortunately, we have been in a situation in Europe in the past four or five years where one food crisis came after another," he added. Among those was the discovery of the so-called mad cow disease in the British beef herd.

Farmers in the us have rapidly scaled up planting of soybeans and other gm crops, which have been altered to resist insect pests or certain types of herbicide. "Regardless of the approval process, approval in one country does not necessary imply approval elsewhere," Haniotis said.

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