6 October 2000
Aventis faces defeat over Chardon

By FWi staff

AN ATTEMPT to register a genetically modified maize variety for sale in the UK is teetering on the brink of farce, reports the Financial Times.

Scheduled for nine weeks, the inquiry to decide whether to include Chardon LL on the National Seed List could be over in three days.

Alun Alesbury, the senior barrister chairing the public hearing, told biotech company Aventis its case was jeopardised by its decision not to give evidence.

Aventis had informed Mr Alesbury that it would not be making witnesses available for cross-examination, nor question anti-GM campaigners.

Mr Alesbury said many of the objections lodged against the herbicide-resistant crop were not answered in Aventiss original written representations.

Unless ministers could be persuaded that the points of concern are irrelevant, Mr Alesbury questioned how they make a decision favourable to the Aventis application.

The FT says Aventis is unwilling to be drawn into debate over the ethics of GM crops, and is treating the hearing as a bureaucratic exercise.