9 November 2000
‘Halt Chardon seed list hearing’

By FWi staff

UK authorities have called for the adjournment of a hearing to decide if genetically modified maize can be registered for sale in the UK.

The hearing is considering whether Chardon LL GM herbicide-tolerant forage maize should be added to the National Seed List.

But hearing chairman Alun Alesbury has been asked by the UK authorities consider an adjournment until further notice.

Two weeks ago, the case to clear Chardon LL suffered a blow when it emerged that it was not tested to European Union standards.

The French government passed new information to British officials which shows that Chardon LL was only officially tested for one year, instead of the two required.

As other countries also rely on French data, the UK Government is seeking the views of the European Commission.

The authorities say they wish to take these into account before taking a decision on how this affects the Chardon LL hearing.

The London phase of the hearing finished on 3 November and the Manchester phase was due to start on 13 November.

Mr Alesbury has decided that the hearing should reconvene on 15 November in Manchester to consider the views of the parties about adjournment.

These views may be submitted to Mr Alesbury in writing or in person on 15 November.

Having a variety put on the National Seed List is the final regulatory hurdle before a seed company can sell its seed to farmers.

However, even if GM varieties are cleared for listing, seed companies have agreed to await the outcome of ongoing farm-scale trials.