EU OFFICIALS will on Wednesday (June 16) decide the fate of a GM oilseed rape that has caused concern with UK government GM advisors.

The GM rape variety has been given the all-clear by the EU GM food safety body, but the UK‘s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment has expressed concern.

All the enlarged EU‘s member states will take part in deciding whether to approve the rape for processing and feed. The UK will be represented by DEFRA officials.

The Monsanto oilseed rape, called GT73, has been modified to resist the company‘s own herbicide.

In September last year, ACRE expressed concern in regard of a confidential Monsanto feeding study on rats which showed that those fed the GM oilseed rape had a 15%increase in liver weights.

ACRE declared itself “not satisfied” with Monsanto‘s explanation that the increased liver weight in rats fed GT73 compared with controls was due to higher glucosinolate content levels in the test material.

“A satisfactory explanation for this potentially adverse response observed in the rat feeding study is required,” ACRE reported.

The UK advisory body also stated its concerns regarding potential seed spill and argued that “the post market monitoring plan should include active monitoring for
spillage of GT73 seed during import, transportation and processing and include tests
for the establishment of feral populations of GT73 oilseed rape.”

The plan should also include appropriate emergency plans should such populations be identified, ACRE said.

Clare Oxborrow, Friends of the Earth‘s GM-Free Britain campaigner,
said: “The UK must reject this unsafe and unwanted GM food.

“Its scientific advisors have raised serious concerns about the safety and environmental impact of this product.”

“The Government must stand up for British public and environment and vote against this GM oil seed rape.”