Janet Bainbridge is on the Board of Trustees of the controversial lobby group Sense About Science. She was the Chair of the UK's Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) (1997-2003), as well as of the ACNFP Sub Group on Long Term Monitoring (of GM foods). Her predecessor at ACNFP was Derek Burke and her successor was Mike Gasson.
ACNFP is responsible for advising the Food Standards Agency (prior to the FSA, it advised the British Government directly) on whether or not to approve GM foods.
A passionate supporter of GM foods, Bainbridge has descibed approved GM foods as 'as safe, if not safer' than conventional foods.
As Chair of ACNFP, Professor Bainbridge was also co-opted onto ACRE (Advisory Committee on Releases to Environment), and was formerly on the Food Chain and Crops for Industry Foresight Strategic Panel (1998-2001). She Chairs the Debate Task Force of the panel.
Until June 2001, she was Director of the School of Science and Technology at the University of Teesside. She is Chief Executive of the European Process Industries Competitiveness Centre which aims to support Chemical and Food Manufacturers though research, technology transfer etc. She is also responsible for the Food Technology Transfer Centre, which also works to support the food manufacturing industry.
Although described by Defra as 'a leading authority on GM Food Safety', on Granada TV's World in Action (1998), Prof Bainbridge was quizzed about a published paper which showed that food DNA could escape the digestive process, get into the circulation, and even pass to the next generation via the placenta. Bainbridge denied any knowledge of this seminal piece of GM food safety research: 'There are thousands of papers, I cannot be aware of them all.'
Prof Bainbridge is also on record as saying that it is no more appropriate to involve the public in discussing the safety of GM foods than a child in the question of when to cross a road, since 'most people do not even know what a gene is. Sometimes my young son wants to cross the road when it's dangerous - sometimes you have to tell people what's best for them.'
- The Guardian, Friday July 9, 1999, Public's grasp of GM science 'poor'.