GM plants found in conventional crop

Genetically modified oilseed rape has been found in Somerset fields where trials of non-modified crops were being carried out.

A Defra investigation shows that the unapproved seed was accidentally sewn in the field, rather than there being any suggestion of cross-fertilisation between GM and non-GM plants.

The type of GM seed is approved for animal feed in the EU, but not for cultivation.

The seed harvested from this trial, and an adjacent trial of spring oil seed rape, has been identified and is now being securely stored while the GM Inspectorate continues its investigation.

None of the seed has been transported onwards to other destinations and the investigation has confirmed no other oilseed rape crops were grown in the vicinity at the time of the trial.

The announcement coincides with the launch of an exhibition at London’s Science Museum on genetically modified foods which seeks to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to information on the controversial crops.

The exhibition, Future Foods, attempts to present a balanced picture, getting away from the Frankenstein foods and saviour-of -the -world’s-hungry hype, explaining what genetic modification is as well as outlining benefits and risks and hopes and fears.

It asks visitors where they stand in today’s GM debate by presenting them with the latest scientific evidence


Emma Hedderwick, Exhibition Content Leader said, “GM is a hot topic, with a lot of opinion about the risks on both sides of the debate. The exhibition looks at the latest GM and non-GM options for improving crop yields and provides visitors with the current arguments around GM, empowering them with the knowledge to make their own decisions and join in the debate.”

There will also be an associated GM debate at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre on 22 January, where the public will have a chance to voice their opinions on the subject and ask questions to the guest experts.

The exhibition will run until June.

Sam Bond

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