Bayer plays down anti-GM claims

BAYER HAS dismissed claims by Friends of the Earth that it withdrew its applications to grow genetically modified oilseed rape in the EU following new DEFRA research findings.

The firm is the only company to have applied for permission to grow GM oilseed rape commercially in Europe, but withdrew the two remaining applications to place GM seed varieties on the UK National List last November, said the firm’s Julian Little.

“As far as Bayer is concerned nothing has changed,” he said.

Delays getting approval through the European framework for the two oilseed rape varieties meant they were likely to be outdated by the time approval was granted, he said.

But FoE claim the DEFRA report (July 25) which found that in farm-scale trials, genes from Bayer’s GM oilseed rape had transferred into wild charlock to produce a resistant strain of the weed, had prompted the decision.

“Their [Bayer’s] genetically modified oilseed rape would be a disaster for farmers and wildlife,” said FoE GM campaigner, Clare Oxborrow.

“The UK government must do more to support sustainable farming, producing food that people want to eat, and abandon GM technology once and for all.”

Five Year Freeze director Pete Riley agreed, adding that politicians need to involve people more in decisions about food and farming.


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