GM animal feed part of food chain, says Minister


IRISH PEOPLE had been eating meat reared on feed containing genetically modified (GM) elements for years, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said. “The idea that Ireland is GM-free is not accurate in respect of the feed given to animals,” he added.

Mr Coveney said his focus was on ensuring the Irish agri-food sector was competitive and safe. New GM crops, which might be part of feeds imported into Ireland, would be rigorously tested, and he had faith in the European systems from a scientific and safety point of view.

Michael Colreavy of Sinn Féin said his party believed that the island of Ireland should be designated a GM-free zone.

“Those who propagate GM crops claim they do so to save the hungry poor of the world,” he added. “They are doing no such thing; what they are doing is making a small number of people extremely wealthy.”

Mr Colreavy said there was enough international experience to show GM crops had not solved the problem of food supply and that they had the potential to damage other crops.

Mr Coveney said it was important that people understood the role GM crops played in Irish agriculture. They were not cultivated in Ireland, nor was he aware of any plans to grow them alongside other commercial crops.

Asked by Mr Colreavy about speculation that licences were being prepared for the trial cultivation of GM crops in Ireland, the Minister said he was not aware of any specific developments in that area.