Forcing starving countries to accept genetically modified (GM) food in aid is "wicked", Michael Meacher, the environment minister, said late last week. He called for "anger to be harnessed" against the policy, which is being vigorously pushed by the United States government.
Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and other southern African countries have refused to accept GM food from the US even though some 12 million people in the region are threatened with famine.
The US , for its part, refused to supply the non-GM grain they requested. Top American officials claim that Americans were eating GM food without ill-effects. One said: "Beggars can't be choosers."
But the African governments say the effects of GM food on health are unknown. They add that poor farmers would be bound to plant GM grain to grow new crops, and would no longer be able to export produce to Europe.