25 May 2000
Greenpeace accused over GM maize
By FWi staff
EUROPEAN seed manufacturers have rejected Greenpeace claims that almost 1 million hectares of maize may be contaminated with genetically modified seed.
The environmental group claimed that between 5% and 15% of the European maize crop was contaminated with GM material affecting up to 975,000ha.
But the European Seeds Associations (ESA), a Brussels-based umbrella group, dismissed the allegation, made by Greenpeace on Wednesday (24 May).
“This figure is more speculative, as no respective data exists for either Europe or the UK,” said an ESA press statement.
However, the statement admits that European and international maize breeders allow up to 1% of GM seed in GM-free seed supplies.
Nevertheless, Garlich van Essen, ESA director, said Greenpeace should “return to the facts” in the debate about the growing of GM crops in Europe.
In a bid to quell fears of GM contamination, the ministry of agriculture is set to introduce the testing of seed imported into Britain next month.
Up to 4700ha of GM oilseed rape was planted by as many as 600 British farmers this spring from contaminated seed supplied by Advanta Seeds UK.
But agriculture minister Nick Brown told MPs on Thursday (25 May) that he had no knowledge of any contaminated maize being planted by producers.
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