22 June 2000
Third firm named in GM seed fiasco

By FW reporters

A THIRD company has been implicated in the fiasco which led to hundreds of farmers unwittingly planting seed contaminated with genetically modified material.

Experiments on the Advanta rape seed suggest the GM trait involved is the Liberty Link herbicide tolerance gene from Aventis.

It was previously thought the Advanta seeds were resistant to the Roundup Ready herbicide developed by Monsanto.

Andy Tingey of Reading Scientific Services Ltd, which is testing the seeds, said: We have had a lot of interest in testing for the Monsanto Roundup Ready gene but have not found that.

“What we have found is something pointing towards the Liberty Link trait.

Dr Tingey said he had yet to be asked to carry out further tests which would pinpoint whether the rogue genes are of Monsanto or Aventis origin.

He said: If we were asked to do a definitive identification we could do, but we have not been asked.

“All the attention at the moment is on whether something is GM or not.

Earlier tests on rapemeal from last years crop also uncovered GM contamination, confirmed Dr Tingey.

He added: Quite a few samples of plant material supplied by farmers this year have also tested positive.

Industry insiders believe other tests will show that GM material from both Monsanto and Aventis was present in Advanta seed.

But nobody at Advanta or Monsanto was available for comment.

A spokesman for Aventis said: We have no access to the information, it is not our seed and we have not been involved in the testing.