Biotech Updates

Owen Patterson: GM Crops Safer than Conventional Crops

June 26, 2013

Genetically modified (GM) crops are "categorically" safer than conventional crops because they are subjected to much greater scrutiny than traditional varieties, Owen Patterson, Secretary of State for Food, Environment, and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom, said in his speech at Rothamsted Research on June 20. Addressing an audience of scientists, the Secretary talked about the benefits of GM crops and called on the government, industry, media, and the scientific and research community to convert the public and its widespread fear and skepticism towards GM. He said, "I want all those here today to play their part. I'll back you all the way."

Secretary Paterson also said that the 170 million hectares of GM crops grown in 2012 - an area seven times the size of the UK - meant that farmers benefitted from growing such crops. He praised the GM technology research being done at research facilities and universities in the UK, but expressed concern that Europe is falling behind its agricultural trading partners. "We cannot expect to feed tomorrow's population with yesterday's agriculture," he said.

For the full transcript of his speech, visit: