Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120-124)
TUESDAY 16 APRIL 2002
120. I accept the point that choice is one that,
you can clamour for it, but there may be some who seek a choice,
and they may not be very numerous, but, nevertheless, their right
(Mr Pearsall) Maybe I did not express myself very
well. SCIMAC was established as an organisation to deliver identity
preservation for GM crops; that applies as much to non-GM as it
does to GM. So one of SCIMAC's objectives is to deliver choice
and identity preservation along the farm supply chain. I think
our position would be that that reflects current consumer aspirations
and expectations. I think our position would be that regulations
must be sufficiently flexible to change in response to any changing
121. So you believe that you and your stakeholders,
who would participate in the definition of labelling and traceability
regulations for GM production, and that you are relaxed about
the fact that it appears to identify GM product as being, in that
sense, completely different from other food product, which people
might wish to have other elements traced for?
(Mr Pearsall) As I said, the basis for the SCIMAC
initiative was to deliver traceability, identity preservation,
from the initial seed stock, along the farm supply chain and onwards
to the food supply chain. I think we are not relaxed in relation
to the proposals as they currently stand, and I think we would
endorse the views of the Food Standards Agency, that it is impracticable
to come forward with a requirement for traceability and labelling
that cannot be tested or verified at the end product stage.
122. But you are not particularly concerned
about the discrimination, if you like, between GM and non-GM foods
in an obligation on labelling and traceability?
(Mr Pearsall) No. I think you can look at it with
your cup half full and for it to work to the technology's advantage.
Chairman: That is helpful, as an answer. Thank
you very much for coming this afternoon. It has been very interesting,
and we welcome your giving up this time. As I said earlier, we
will be seeing others next week and then, having mulled over that,
produce our thoughts on this issue once again.
123. See you in ten years' time?
(Dr Turner) I am going to go home and get my Leeds
124. I think, if the bet is open for a crop
to inspect in three years' time, I will take up that offer?
(Dr Turner) I will be pleased to take you.
Chairman: Thank you.