Monday, March 24, 2003

GM research spending falls in Europe

A report in the UK Independent on 23 March notes that biotech companies in Europe are reducing their spending on GM technology.

'The European Commission has admitted that nearly two thirds of the EU's biotech companies have cancelled GM research projects over the past four years, mainly because of the controversy over the safety and labelling of GM crops, and continuing consumer resistance,' says the article. It goes on to quote EU research commissioner Philippe Busquin bemoaning this state of affairs. He apparently 'complained that "unjustified fears and prejudice" were severely damaging the EU's economic prospects. "The increasingly sceptical climate is scaring European biotech companies and research centres away," he claimed. "If we do not reverse the trend now, we will be dependent on technologies developed elsewhere."'

It's a little bit rich for the EU to complain about this when it has done nothing but encourage consumer fears about GM, of which labelling is the latest example. I hope that eventually, GM technology will be common-place. But if and when it is, it will not be European companies in a position to take advantage of it.

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