1 June 2000
Al-Fayed to help farmers sue Advanta
by FWi staff
FLAMBOYANT Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed has offered to help pay the legal costs of farmers who unwittingly planted genetically modified crops.
Mr al-Fayed made the gesture after it emerged that (22 hectares) 55 acres of GM contaminated oilseed rape seed had been planted on his Scottish estate.
Jim Walker, president of the Scottish National Farmers Union, said Mr al-Fayed had offered to contribute towards the unions costs for any court action.
Mr al-Fayed said he was prepared to meet officials to discuss support for other aspects of the unions campaign for compensation, reported the BBC.
Mr Walker said: “Mr al-Fayed has offered any help in the future that we may require, including financial help, if we have to take a court case out against a third party for this whole debacle.”
The GM-contaminated oilseed rape is still growing on the Balnagowan estate but it is expected to be ploughed in over the next few days.
Up to 600 other British farmers unwittingly planted the oilseed rape from contaminated seed supplied by Lincolnshire-based Advanta Seeds UK.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that GM crops on trial in Britain are to be tested for “rogue” genetic material.
This follows an admission by biotechnology company Monsanto that some of its genetically modified products contain unexpected gene fragments.
Inactive material was inserted into soya at the same time as a gene which ensures the seed is not killed by weedkiller.
The Mail says Monsanto has trialled sugar beet in Britain which contains the same gene. Anti-GM campaigners say this proves GM science is flawed.
Monsanto and the British government insist the soya beans are no more risky to human health than conventional varieties.