U.K. Ministers Green-Light Genetically Modified Corn

In the U.K., they fight over genetically modified foods the way folks in the U.S. fight over “America’s Next Top Model.” The daily drip of accusations and counter-accusations can blur the eyes, but today brought a bona fide significant development: U.K. ministers officially announced that they would allow commercial plantings of genetically modified corn, a symbolically charged decision marking the first legalization of a GM crop in Britain. The announcement is expected to be met with a flurry of protests and court challenges; critics charge that scientific testing has been inadequate and public opinion disregarded. Still to be decided are questions of coexistence — whether GM crops can be planted next to non-GM crops — and liability — who’s responsible if GM crops contaminate neighboring crops. Even the most optimistic GM supporters don’t expect to see seeds in the ground until 2005 at the earliest.