Defra approves second site for GM potato trials but no trial this year (14/5/2007)

Soil Association comment from Michael Green, policy officer: British retailers won't sell GM and shoppers won't buy it, so it is astonishing that the Government has given these unwanted spuds the go ahead. Nevertheless, it is encouraging that the GM potato trial in East Yorkshire will not take place this year. Hopefully this will provide an opportunity to reconsider the trials and follow the example of Ireland and Holland where GM potatoes have been shelved. Read more on GM potatoes here http://www.soilassociation.org/gmpotatoes


Defra approves a second site for GM potato trials http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2007/070514a.htm

Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, NEWS RELEASE
Ref: 129/07
Date: 14 May 2007
Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR Out of hours telephone 020 7270 8960

After public consultation, Defra has now given approval for a site in East Yorkshire to be used by BASF for its GM potato trials programme. The statutory approval is valid until 2011. BASF will not proceed with trials at the East Yorkshire site this year, but may do so in future years.

Last December Defra gave approval to BASF to undertake research trials of a GM disease-resistant potato at a site in Cambridge.

The BASF application for the East Yorkshire site has been evaluated by the independent expert group the Advisory Committee of Releases to the Environment (ACRE). It is satisfied that trials at this site will not result in any adverse effect on human health or the environment.

The GM potato developed by BASF is resistant to late potato blight. This can be a significant disease problem for UK potato growers, who normally combat it by applying chemical fungicides. The purpose of the research trials is to test the effectiveness of the potato's resistance against UK pathotypes of the disease. Similar trials are already underway in other European countries.

Reflecting ACRE's advice, precautionary conditions have been attached to the statutory consent for the trials. These aim to ensure that GM material does not persist at the trial sites. The harvested GM potatoes will not be used for food or animal feed.

1. Details of the BASF application, ACRE's advice and the statutory consent document can be found on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/regulation/consents/index.htm (the consent reference is 07/R42/01).


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