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[SANET-MG] food standards agency accused
I have seen the documents described below. The way that the information
was censored by the food standards agency went beyond just silly. It was
clear that the agency despises those who question it and its bed
partners ,the corporations. The agency really should be disbanded and
replaced by a truly independent agency, one with integrity.
Food agency accused of Stalinist tactics over GM maize cover-up
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
19 June 2005 the independent
Britain's official food safety watchdog - which prides itself on its
"openness" - is embroiled in a row over the blanking-out of large
sections of a document relating to a banned GM maize illegally imported
into the country.
The Food Standards Agency had even erased the telephone numbers of the
European Commission and the biotech company Syngenta, along with
statistics on the total trade in maize between Europe and the US.
The documents, which were finally released under the Freedom of
Information Act after weeks of pressure from a small environmental
group, GM Free Cymru, help to expose one of the greatest GM scandals of
As reported in The Independent on Sunday in April, at least a thousand
tons of the maize has been illegally exported from the United States to
Europe over the past four years.
The Bush administration failed to inform European countries that they
were inadvertently importing the maize, which had been confused with a
similar approved one. The imports were later exposed by the scientific
magazine Nature. Even then it was not revealed that the maize contained
a gene conferring resistance to antibiotics that could potentially cause
people to resist vital medicines.
The Food Standards Agency refused to try to track down the banned maize
in Britain. Having carried out no tests, it says it was "not aware" of
the crop's presence. It took action to stop the imports only when forced
to do so by the European Commission.
The censoring of the documents is bound to raise new questions about the
agency's role in the scandal, and its relationship with giant biotech
Dr Brian John of GM Free Cymru, who has lodged a formal complaint with
the agency, said: "After endless procrastination, we have at last been
sent a bunch of documents relating to the scandal, only to find that
they have been heavily censored in a manner that would have done credit
to Stalinist Russia."
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