UK tries to bury devastating GM crops report

London - Alarming results from official trials of genetically modified (GM) crops are severely jeopardising plans for growing them commercially.

The findings, in a new government report, show for the first time in Britain that genes from GM crops are being passed on a large scale to conventional crops and weeds.

The finding is so devastating to the government's case for GM crops that ministers sought to bury it by publishing the first information on it on the department of the environment, food and rural affairs website on Christmas Eve - the one day in the year on which no newspapers are being prepared.

The full report, which contains more devastating detail, was withheld from the website.

The report is the result of monitoring GM crops in Britain from 1994 to 2000.

The trials were designed to look at the effects of different uses of pesticides on GM and non-GM plants.

The studies, by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, found that genes from GM rape - a seed grown for oil - contaminated conventional crops. The rape seed had been engineered to be resistant to herbicides.

The report also says that the GM crop interbred with a weed, wild turnip, giving it resistance to herbicides and raising the prospect of super weeds.

Pete Riley, of Friends of the Earth, said the results showed that if GM crops became widespread, almost all similar crops would become contaminated, threatening organic agriculture. - The Independent

sign up