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Rethink ahead on GM cordon

30 September 1999

Rethink ahead on GM cordon

GOVERNMENT guidelines regarding genetically modified crops are set to be reviewed following independent research commissioned by environmentalists…more…

Todays news



Your questions will be tackled at the Crops Conference, 23 November at Linton, Cambridgeshire

CLICK HERE to send your questions to the minister

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Rethink ahead on GM cordon

30 September 1999

Rethink ahead on GM cordon

GOVERNMENT guidelines regarding genetically modified crops are set to be reviewed following independent research commissioned by environmentalists…more…

Todays news



Your questions will be tackled at the Crops Conference, 23 November at Linton, Cambridgeshire

CLICK HERE to send your questions to the minister

Euro1 = £0.6430
£1 = Euro1.5552 / DM3.0417 / FF10.2015 / $1.6428  
ADAS, CLA and NFU membership services
Click the logos

      
    Read more on:
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Rethink ahead on GM cordon

30 September 1999
Rethink ahead on GM cordon

By Jonathan Riley

GOVERNMENT guidelines regarding genetically modified crops are set to be reviewed following independent research commissioned by environmentalists.

The pressure group Friends of the Earth claims it has conclusively proved that the guidelines separating GM crops from conventional are inadequate.

Current guidelines stipulate minimum distances of 50m between GM crop trials and conventional crops and 200m between GM crops and organic or seed crops.

The minimum distance aims to minimise the possibility that GM crops can cross-pollinate with conventional varieties in other fields.

But researchers commissioned by FoE claim to have found GM pollen 4.5km away from a government backed farm scale trial in Oxfordshire.

They monitored airborne pollen and pollen from six bee hives up to 4.5km away from a GM oilseed rape trial at Model Farm, Watlington, this summer.

The pollen was then sent by the BBC Newsnight team for analysis at the Federal Environment Agency in Austria.

GM pollen was found in all six pollen samples from the bee hives and in two of the six airborne pollen samples.

FoE executive director Charles Secrett called on government to end the GM crop trials immediately.

“This study shows that genetic pollution from the farm scale trials is already happening,” he said.

“We have shown that all the current GM trials threaten local farmers, beekeepers and the environment.”

A statement from the Department of the Environment said the government had looked closely at the issue of pollen transfer and continued to do so.

It said the distances separating GM trials from conventional crops had been agreed internationally and the risk of pollination beyond those limits was miniscule.

But it added: “We will continue to monitor this and will look at Newsnights data.”

The Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee, which has carried out research on pollen transfer, said the experiment showed nothing new.

“We knew that pollen could travel for long distances,” said a spokesman. “What is important is the likelihood that the pollen will find compatible plants.

Research conducted by the institute showed that 60m away from a plant the chance of pollination is only three in a million.

“And the chance that traits would be expressed from the modified element of the plant are many times smaller than that,” the spokesman added

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