- The Government has been urged by its
most senior medical and science advisers to set up a special unit to monitor
the potential health risks of eating genetically modified food.
- The chief medical officer, Professor
Liam Donaldson and chief scientific adviser Sir Robert May told ministers
a health monitoring unit is needed as understanding of the effects of the
technology is still "developing", the Independent on Sunday said.
- It would be similar to the one that established
a link between BSE-infected cows and killer brain disease CJD.
- The unit would "monitor the health
effects of GM organisms, similar to the unit monitoring CJD", the
paper quoted the report as saying.
- It should also scrutinise "potential
health effects" including "foetal abnormalities, new cancers
and effects on the human immune system".
- A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office
confirmed the ministerial committee on biotechnology and GM organisms had
received the draft report "a while ago".
- She said it had been commissioned so
ministers could assess the "public health implications" of GM
- She stressed the report, which will be
published once the final version has been studied by ministers, had found
"no evidence" of any health risks and there was "no cause
- However, neither the Cabinet Office nor
the Department of Health was able to confirm the advisers recommended setting
up a health monitoring unit.
- The ministerial committee is chaired
by Cabinet Office Minister Dr Jack Cunningham, who last week attacked the
"media hysteria" over the debate on GM foods. \