GM maize approved

In March Environment Minister, Angela Smith, announced that the Government is happy to go
ahead with the commercial growing of the GM maize Chardon LL in Northern Ireland. This is on condition that it is only grown in the same way as in the farm-scale trials and that no other weed killers are used.

The GM approval for the maize will expire in 2006.
Before a renewal can be granted the Government
wants to see new data comparing the GM weed
control with the conventional controls that will replace
atrazine and related weedkillers when they are banned in 2006.

GM spring oilseed rape and beets were also tested in the farm-scale trials but these haven't been approved because they were found to damage the environment.

The Government intends to consult about contamination thresholds in organic produce, coexistence of GM and non-GM crops and a compensation fund for contaminated farmers. The biotech companies in the GM sector would fund this compensation scheme.

Despite the approval of Chardon LL, Bayer CropScience, the company which developed the maize, has withdrawn its application claiming the conditions were too restrictive. It is now unlikely any GM crops will be grown in Northern Ireland before 2008.

Friends of the Earth will continue to oppose the
approval of GM maize
because of continuing
concerns about food and animal feed, environmental
safety, the validity of the farm-scale trials and the
prevention of contamination of neighbouring crops.

For more information on Friends of the Earth's GM campaign visit our Real food pages.