28 September 2000
Sides prepare for Seed List hearing

THE Government is holding a series of unprecedented public hearings next week over the inclusion of genetically modified maize on the National Seed List.

These will give environmentalists a chance to air anti-GM views and will be watched closely by the biotech industry, reports the Financial Times.

Environmental groups have logged 67 objections to the listing of herbicide-resistant GM maize.

Listing is the final regulatory hurdle before company – in this case Aventis – can sell its seed to farmers.

Opponents of GM technology will argue that listing the maize, while farm-scale trials are still under way, shows the Government has accepted the principle of cultivation before receiving scientific results.

Aventis, which already has EU marketing approval for Chardon LL fodder maize, argues that it is normal practice to prepare ahead of commercialisation.

A ruling is not expected until next year, says the FT.