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Genetically Modified Crops

Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she and her officials have (a) telephoned and (b) written to the Royal Society during 2003 concerning publication of "The Farm Scale Evaluations with GM Crops"; and what was discussed. [107237]

[holding answer 7 April 2003]: Officials from the Department have corresponded with the editor (one letter in August 2002), and subsequently with the commissioning editor (three emails and a phone call in 2002 and one email and a phone call in 2003) of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Biological Sciences).Philosophical Transactions is a peer reviewed scientific journal devoted to themed issues on particular topics. Officials contacted the journal, on behalf of the Scientific Steering Committee, to inquire as to the procedure for proposing a themed issue devoted to papers reporting the results of the GM crop farm-scale evaluations. The appropriate number and structure of papers for such an issue was discussed. Officials also sought an indication of the timescale that the journal would anticipate between submission of the papers and publication, assuming the papers reached the required standard.On 27 February 2003 the Vice-President of the Royal Society wrote to the Secretary of State acknowledging that the farm-scale evaluation papers had been received from the research consortium and giving an indication of the likely timing of publication should the papers be accepted. The Secretary of State responded on 4 March 2003 thanking him for this information.