8 January 1999

GM prosecution

THE Health and Safety Executive is to prosecute biotech firm Monsanto and Perryfields Holdings for breaching rules governing the growing of genetically modified winter oilseed rape at a site at Rothwell in Lincs.

HSE inspectors found that a requirement to have six metre pollen border around the trial site, to restrict the transfer of GM pollen to neighbouring crops of unmodified rape, had not been met and was only two metres at some points.

Following the discovery, and after consultation with the Department of the Environment, the plants in the trial and all plants within a 50m (167ft) radius were destroyed in order to minimise any potential environmental impact.

Monsanto has indicated that it will not contest the case which is due to be heard before Caistor Magistrates Court on Feb 17.