From June 2003 to October 2003
Project Leader(s): Tom Wakeford
Sponsors: Consumers' Association, Co-op, Greenpeace and Unilever
During July and August 2003 two parallel citizens' juries were carried out in Hertfordshire and Tyneside in order to give a voice to a group of thoroughly informed citizens in the debate on GM crops as instigated by the UK Government.
The GM Jury process was carried out by the DIY Jury project team and constituted one of the most rigorous public deliberation exercises ever to take place on the issue of GM foods. Each jury heard from the same witnesses and reached their conclusions independently of each other. The process was funded by the Consumers' Association, the Co-op, Greenpeace and Unilever. It was overseen by an independent panel, whose members have a range of both expertise of citizen participatory initiatives and of the issues surrounding GM foods and farming.
A 'People's Report on GM Crops' (pdf) was put together by Tom Wakeford and Pauline Wilson from the GM jury team, which also included Clare Delap and Irem Haq with advice from Tom Shakespeare. The report describes the GM Jury process and puts the results in context of similar work in this area, both in the UK and elsewhere. In its report, published in September 2003, the two juries criticised the Government's handling of the GM debate, and called for the immediate withdrawal from sale of any GM foods until more research could be carried out into their impact on health. The GM jury attracted sponsorship from four international organisations, the Consumers' Association, Unilever, Greenpeace and the Co-operative Group, all with high stakes in the GM issue, and the Jury's report was covered in the national media.