GM Freeze has launched a new campaign – ‘GM Wheat? No Thanks!’, in protest at the government’s approval of an open-air field trial of GM wheat by Rothamsted Research.

It calls on individuals, farmers and food businesses to pledge not to use or buy GM wheat, and demands that research money be directed to more sustainable food production methods.

The trials at Rothamsted, announced in September, are to begin this year, after Defra granted it permission to release wheat lines genetically modified for resistance to aphids.

However GM Freeze said the encouraging natural aphid parasites and predators, such as ladybirds, already works, without the risks of GM to the UK’s farming, food chains and exports

The GM Freeze campaign is supported by an alliance of organisations, including the Real Bread Campaign, sharing the public’s deep concern about the speed at which genetic engineering is being introduced into food and farming.

Chris Young, from the Real Bread Campaign, said: “The Real Bread Campaign works to find ways to make the whole chain, from seed to sandwich, better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Has GM technology ever done anything that supports any of these aims? If it has, could the same or better results have been achieved by non-GM means? We need to be working with nature, not against it.”

Pete Riley, campaign director at GM Freeze, said: “Defra approved this GM trial against public and scientific objections. It is risky, unnecessary and unwanted.

“The UK has successfully avoided the serious agronomic problems caused by GM in other parts of the world, such as the rampant spread of super weeds in the US. We should be learning from that experience and protecting our food and farming, not chasing GM pipe dreams.

“One of the biggest mysteries of this GM wheat is who is expected to buy it? There is no market anywhere in the world for GM wheat, so why are we putting our countryside at risk?”