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GM Debate Clouded By Fields Of Gold Programme

The NFU today condemned the Fields of Gold programme broadcast on BBC1 at the weekend, saying it would only serve to further cloud serious and balanced debate on the complex issue of genetic modification.

Expressing his concern at the two-part thriller screened on Saturday and Sunday, NFU President Ben Gill said he feared it would leave the public needlessly confused and scared.

He said: "The NFU believes it was irresponsible of the BBC to screen this programme. There are many serious questions surrounding the issue of GM crops.

"But that is precisely why debate must be balanced and informed by sound science. Only this way can we fully assess the potential benefits and concerns and make informed decisions about the proper role of biotechnology in Britain and world-wide.

"Objectivity and sound science were thrown out of the window in Fields of Gold in favour of sensationalism and science fiction. It may have been exciting drama but if it has set back sensible debate on this important subject, was it really worth it?"

The NFU supports the current moratorium on the commercial growing of GM crops in the UK until on-going trials have been completed to assess the effects on wildlife and the environment. There is no evidence that foods containing GM material present a greater safety risk than non-GM food.

Mr Gill also hit out at the programme's inaccuracies about farming, animal welfare, the use of antibiotics and pesticides.

Mr Gill added: "The programme's wildly distorted picture of farming has left British farmers fuming.

"It is not enough to justify the screening of this programme at prime time viewing by saying it was merely a work of fiction. Of course people are influenced by what they see on television. We only hope people recognised it for what it was - a work of fantasy."


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