25 April 1997

Agreement on GM crop code

AGREEMENT has been reached on an industry-wide code of practice on genetically modified crops.

It aims to provide an open flow of information for those involved in the production chain from plant breeders through to growers.

The role of the voluntary code, backed by the British Society of Plant Breeders, the supply trade organisation UKASTA, and the NFU, is to ensure traceability and best practice for any GM crops that may be grown in this country.

Although none is yet being grown on a commercial scale in the UK, the organisations believe the early development of a code of practice recognises the need to reassure the public about biotechnology.

The code will provide responsible and open information to allow consumers to make informed choices about what they buy. It identifies the data needed at each stage of the primary production chain and how it should be communicated.

Farmers will be told, either directly by plant breeders or by seed suppliers, that a variety is genetically modified and what the modification is. Husbandry and management advice will also be provided, along with details of where further advice can be sought.

In turn, farmers are advised that good records should be kept with details, and the location, of the varieties grown. And the code stresses that each GM crop should be identifiable by variety at all times, from initial seed stock to harvesting and storage. &#42