The European Food Authority should play a key role in seeking to allay the fears of European Union consumers about purchasing genetically modified foodstuffs, a senior official within the European Commission has claimed. The director general of the Commission’s directorate general for health and consumer protection, Robert Coleman, told a roundtable in Brussels that the unwillingness of EU consumers to buy GM food is because many are no longer “convinced by… the authority of scientific opinion itself.” He said that the EFA – due to be established next year – would help to combat public mistrust of GMOs by providing independent assessments which consumers might trust.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent