miércoles, octubre 05, 2005

NO coexistence

GM Oil seed survives longer in soil - new blow to EU coexistence plans

IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 30th September 2005

New research [1] has found that GM oilseed rape could contaminate non-GM crops 15 years after it was grown - longer than previously thought. This represent a major set back to plans to commercialise the crop and EU plans to introduce coexistence rules for growing GM and non-GM crops.

The research [2] looked at how long oilseed rape seeds can survive in the soil and then germinate after they were spilt at harvest. Previously it was thought that GM oilseed seed would persist in the soil for ten years [3]. However the new research on 5 sites across the England and Scotland predicts that one in twenty spilt seeds could survive in the soil for 9 years and 1% could still germinate fifteen years after the GM crop was harvested. The researchers found that some crops dropped 10,000 seeds per square metre (3575 per square metre average) compared with a normal sowing rate for oilseed rape of just 100 seeds per square metre.

The researchers concluded:

"Even at 95% loss of the mean 3575 seeds per square metre shed at harvest, would still leave nearly 200 seeds per square metre. Such numbers would be highly likely to result in the presence of more than two volunteer plants per square metre in a rape crop sown 9 years after the HT crop. This density would exceed the European Union threshold of 0.9% adventitious presence of GM seeds in a non-GM crop, if the subsequent crop was ‘conventional’".

The European Commission Coexistence guidelines require measures to prevent contamination in non-GM crops exceeding 0.9% [4]. However, the EC advice to adopt the high threshold of 0.9% has been challenged by the opinion of a leading QC as "fundamentally flawed" and "wrong in law" [5].

In fact, two plants per square metre would result in around 2% contamination. One plant per square metre, after 15 years, would still mean that the 0.9% threshold could be breached.

These results follow the publication of new results by DEFRA this week showing harmful effect on wildlife from GM herbicide tolerant crops found in the Farm Scale Evaluations persisted for at least two years [5].

Commenting for GM Freeze, Pete Riley said:

"These research findings show that it will be impossible to grow GM oilseed rape without long term contamination problems - the concept of coexistence is looking like dream land Farmers would not be able to predict what level of GM they could find in their non-GM crops. Their land would be blighted for 15 years or more by a GM crop grown by a previous owner. The Government should announce the end all GM oilseed rape experiments in the UK immediately so that farmers can get on with providing UK supermarkets and food and animal feed manufacturers with the GM-free products they are demanding".

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