View from the fence

Social, environmental and economic issues surrounding GM foods, and the latest news

Is the EU interested in evidence-based policy?

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Seldom does scientific policy making get dealt a blow as large as it was today: the role of Chief Scientific Adviser to the EU has been scrapped. This is not just a great loss, but a worrying statement about how much the EU values scientific evidence in policy making. As Imran Khan, chief executive of the British Science Association, said: “Everyone—Europeans and the rest of the world alike—will rightly see this decision as the European Commission downgrading both the practical and the symbolic value of science in Europe.”

Earlier this year, environmental groups wrote to Jean-Claude Juncker urging him to scrap the role. The route of this was their disagreement with her positive position on GM.

I have no idea about cause and effect here, but if it is lobbying based on a mistrust of GM crops which led to the loss of the role, that’s very worrying indeed.

The shocked scientific community had a lot to say about this ‘step backwards’.

Author: Rebecca Nesbit

I am author of a popular science book 'Is that Fish in your Tomato?' exploring the fact and fiction of GM crops. In my work and leisure so far, I have trained bees to detect explosives, used a radar to study butterflies for my PhD, written a novel, taken the train from London to China, organised Biology Week, sold science jewellery on Etsy, and traveled to four continents with Nobel Laureates. Best off all, I've made lots of friends whose support I very much appreciate. Thank you! Please visit my website:

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