1 November 1996

UK looks set to import modified OSR products

AGROCHEMICAL company AgrEvo expects to win a licence before Christmas to import into Europe rapeseed oil and meal produced from genetically-modified Canadian crops.

"Oil and meal produced from genetically-modified canola (spring rape), available in Canada for two years, will be on sale in Europe next year," said company chairman Gerhard Prante.

The oil, for human consumption, and the meal, intended for stock feed, are produced from oilseed rape resistant to the companys total herbicide glufosinate-ammonium. In September AgrEvo gained a licence to import meal and oil from genetically modified plants into the USA and Japan.

No decision has been taken whether or not to label the imports into the EU as having been grown from modified crops. But segregating material from modified plants would significantly add to costs and limit the uptake of the technology, said Dr Prante. Not all products derived from modified crops should be labelled as such, he added.

"Products produced from genetically-modified crops should be labelled only if they are measurably different from similar products grown from conventional crops," he said. "If you buy a car you do not need to know where the rubber comes from," he added.

Gene technology was vital to increase yields to meet the worlds rapidly growing nutritional requirements, and to protect the environment and preserve resources, he claimed.

The company already has one genetically-modified variety in NIAB trials. The first commercial crops of modified spring rape are expected to become available in the UK in 1998.