Government sues Monsanto over GM escape


17 December 1998


Government sues Monsanto over GM escape

By Johann Tasker

BIOTECH giant Monsanto faces criminal proceedings following accusations from Government safety officials that it failed to control a genetically modified crop trial.

Monsanto faces a £20,000 fine if it is found guilty of failing to restrict the transfer of pollen from a crop of genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape.

The accusation, which follows an investigation by environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth, relates to a trial plot in the Lincolnshire village of Rothwell.

Friends of the Earth had already claimed that Monsanto contravened environmental legislation by allowing GM oilseed rape to cross-pollinate with nearby conventional plants.

The environmentalists sent detailed information supporting their case to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in London.

A routine inspection by HSE officials earlier this summer revealed that Monsanto was breaching the safety measures required when growing the GM crop.

A provisional date for the hearing has been set for 17 February next year.

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