Legality of GM licences under investigation

18 July 1997




Legality of GM licences under investigation

TECHNOLOGY fees, licences and contracts between farmers and agrochemical firms for use of genetically modified crops in the USA would be totally unacceptable and possibly illegal in the UK, according to the NFU.

The NFUs biotechnology working party said on Monday that it is to seek legal advice as to whether companies such as Monsanto, which have introduced licences and contracts for US farmers in Canada, could be introduced in the UK.

Dr Vernon Barber, NFU biotechnology adviser, said that while GM contracts may still be a few years away from being introduced in the UK, it was important to ascertain the legal situation.

The contract issue is not incorporated within the NFU/British Society of Plant Breeders/UKASTA code of practice, but Dr Barber said it was important farmers were not burdened by unnecessarily restrictive GM levies.

Roger Turner, BSPB chief executive, said he did not have a problem with contracts, adding that they had been accepted in the US. "We already run a licensing system for crop certified seed. I dont see any deep-seated problem."n


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