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.