25 May 2000
Brown denies GM maize plantings

By FWi staff

AGRICULTURE Minister Nick Brown has denied having any information that genetically modified maize has been unknowingly planted by farmers.

He told MPs: “We, meaning the British government, have no indication that any conventional maize seeds imported into the United Kingdom do contain modified varieties.”

The statement came as shadow agriculture minister Tim Yeo raised the issue of GM contamination during agricultural questions on Thursday (24 May).

Greenpeace claims that maize containing up to 1% of GM-contaminated seed has been planted on up to 1 million hectares across the Europe Union.

The group refused to give more details of its claims, saying that releasing evidence would compromise its source.

Mr Browns denial came as anti-GM campaigners set up a Dig it Up! website calling for the destruction of GM oilseed rape planted in Britain.

Up to 600 farmers unknowingly planted up to 4700ha of GM maize this spring from contaminated seed supplied by Advanta Seeds UK.

The website includes a point-by-point analysis of Mr Browns recent statement to the House of Commons on GM material in conventional crops.

Madeleine Parkyn, website creator, said: “The Dig it Up website enables us to keep people informed and motivated. With it, we can share news quickly and spread ideas for effective action.”

The campaign calls upon the Government to destroy all potentially contaminated oilseed rape crops destroyed and pay full compensation to farmers.

It also calls for an immediate halt to the current field trials of GM oilseed rape and the existing plantings to be removed and destroyed.

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