Two businessmen in black suits shaking hands

New Men at GMO Advisory Body ACRE Appear as Conflicted as Those They Replaced

Appointments continue tradition of actual or potential conflicts of interest with the GMO industry.

February 8, 2024 | Source: GMWatch | by Claire Robinson

Back in March 2022 we analysed the then membership of the UK government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) and found that 100% of the members had actual or potential conflicts of interest with the biotechnology industry, whose products they are supposed to give “independent” opinions on. This was highly concerning because UK ministers rely on ACRE for advice on the risks to human health and the environment from the release of GMOs.

At the end of last year an important paper published in Nature Food – the highest ranking journal on food science and technology – found extensive conflicts of interest not just in ACRE, but more widely in UK regulatory committees on GMOs and other food safety issues.

Among Erik Millstone and Tim Lang’s striking findings was that six of the seven then members of ACRE owned up to having conflicts of interest with 16 different corporations. In their paper they point out that conflicts of interest (COIs) are critical to public trust in decision making and conclude that ideally such regulatory or advisory bodies “should not include anyone with COIs that deserve to be declared”.