15 November 1996

Hogg to ask for GM soya segregation

MAFF officials will ask agro-chemical company Monsanto to reconsider its decision not to segregate genetically modified (GM) soyabeans.

Consumer groups raised the issue at a meeting with farm minster, Douglas Hogg, on Tuesday.

"Mr Hogg said that he would ask his officials to get in touch with Monsanto to see if it was possible to segregate beans in future," a MAFF spokesman said.

Mr Hogg also agreed to "reacquaint the chairman of the food advisory committee with consumer groups concerns" and to ask manufacturers and retailers to come to an agreement on voluntary labelling.

Monsanto has claimed segregation is unnecessary and expensive. But the arrival of GM soya, from the US, in Europe last week led to confrontations with environment group Greenpeace, which attempted to block consignments entering Germany and Belgium.

Stuart Thomson, secretary of the NFUs biotechnology working party said that Monsantos decision not to provide consumer choice was an oversight which would have considerable repercussions for the UKs fledgling biotech industry. &#42