G8 Divided Over International GM Panel

August 1, 2000

1 Min Read
G8 Divided Over International GM Panel


G8 Divided Over International GM Panel

NAGO, Italy--During the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, the Group of Eight (G8) essentially agreed to establish an independent panel to oversee the safety of genetically modified (GM) foods. However, members of the group [Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States] remain divided as to how the panel should be constructed. Some leaders were quoted as saying the panel should consist of scientists, representatives from developing countries and delegates from non-government organizations. Britain proposed a panel to supervise work currently underway, but some countries opposed that idea, saying that it is best to wait for forums such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to finish their work before others get involved.

For now, GM food remains a divided issue, with two schools of thought. The "American school," supported by the United States and Canada, believes that GM foods are no threat to health or the environment, while the "other school," backed by Europe and Japan, recommends that GM foods need more scientific study.

President Bill Clinton defended his stance on the issue by saying, "I would never knowingly let the American people eat unsafe food." He also said he believed that Europe was being too cautious and any major decisions should be based on "clear science." For more information about the summit, visitwww.oecd.org/subject/biotech.

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