31 March 2005: For immediate release
GeneWatch UK has asked all the leading political parties for their views on GM foods and human genetic testing (1). Their replies can be viewed on the GeneWatch web site here.
"We wanted people to know how the political parties were thinking about GM foods and human genetic testing. Policy development is weakest in the area of human genetic testing, with only the SNP having anything to say about direct sales of genetic tests to the public" said Dr Sue Mayer, GeneWatch?s Director.
"Unless politicians recognise how commercial interests are shaping the development of genetics, companies will be allowed to peddle misleading tests and people's health could suffer" said Dr Mayer. "All the political parties need to sharpen up their thinking in relation to genetics, otherwise they will just be reacting as controversies arise and too late to ensure people are protected from sharp practices. Genetic tests should only be available through health professionals".
Sue Mayer on 01298 871898 (office) or 07930 308807 (mobile).
1. GeneWatch asked the political parties seven questions.
Three on GM crops:
1. What is your position in relation to growing GM crops in the UK? What conditions
need to be fulfilled for this to proceed?
2. What is your view of whether GM free regions should be allowed in the UK?
3. What is your position in relation to environmental and economic liability if any adverse effects of growing GM crops become evident?
And four on human genetic testing:
4. What is your position in relation to the regulation of genetic tests?
5. Should the direct selling of genetic tests to the public via shops or on the internet be allowed?
6. What is your policy on discrimination arising from the use of genetic tests by employers and insurers?
7. What is your policy in relation to the retention of DNA samples linked to the police DNA database?
Replies have been received from:
- The Conservative Party (on GM foods - still waiting for response by Shadow Health Minister)
- The Labour Party
- The Liberal Democrat Party
- Plaid Cymru
- Scottish National Party
- The Green Party
No Replies received from:
- Democratic Unionist Party
- Sinn Fein
- Social Democrat and Labour Party
- Ulster Unionist Party
2. A GeneWatch briefing on the need for regulation of genetic testing and a ban on direct sales to the public is available at: http://www.genewatch.org/Publications/Briefs/brief28.pdf