11 October 2000
First GM release probe starts

THE first investigation into the unauthorised release of genetically modified crops in the UK has been launched, reports The Guardian.

Aventis notified the Department of the Environment that two of 10 GM sugar beet trials contain a second GM line.

Government advisors told the department there was no risk to health or the environment.

The crop has to be harvested before it flowers and no materials can enter the food chain, and the Central Science Laboratory has been asked to report.

A department spokeswoman told The Guardian that the CSL could decide to prosecute since no release was permitted without consent.