26 November 1999
US farmers warned over GM crops

MORE than 25 US family farm groups have warned about the potential dangers to farmers livelihoods from sowing genetically modified (GM) crops.

The groups have warned that massive liability suits could result from the transfer of genes, an increase in resistance to weeds and the destruction of wildlife.

They have called on the major biotechnology companies involved in producing GM seed to provide indemnity cover in the case of any subsequent law suits.

GM crops were initially enthusiastically endorsed by farmers in the USA.

Some 40% of GM soyabeans and maize were grown in the USA last year, planted when European and Asian hostility to the GM crops was still in its infancy.

Concern has since been heightened when one of the leading grain traders, Archer Daniels Midland, told farmers to segregate their crops.

The chief executive of the American Corn Growers Association predicted this week that GM sowings would fall as much as 25% next year.

Meanwhile, European Court of Justice has ruled against a French decision to freeze approval of genetically modified (GM) maize.

It had been asked to rule on whether individual states could GM crops already approved by the Commission.