GM-contaminated rapeseed sown in Norway

Seed firm pledges to destroy plants from batch of seeds imported from Finland

Norway was reported today to have joined European countries playing reluctant host to the Canadian strain of GMO-contaminated oilseed rape that has caused public and press consternation in Sweden, Germany, France and the UK.

One of the country's largest seed importers and wholesalers, Norwegian Cereal Breeding revealed that it had inadvertently distributed half a kilogram of hyola 38 contaminated with GM pollen to farmers for trials. "These contaminants - affecting 0.4% of the batch - are sterile and will not spread," managing director Magne Gullord told ENDS Daily today. "In any case, we know precisely where the seeds have been planted, and the crops will be destroyed before they can flower."

The company had voluntarily publicised the problem, Mr Gullord said. He told Nationen newspaper today: "We saw no reason to check whether the seeds were gene-modified, as this is not legal in Finland," from where the batch was imported. The penny began to drop when he learned that GM seeds that had been discovered in Sweden were of the same type as had been imported to Norway.

* In a related development, UK environmental groups today trumpeted news that one of the estimated British 500 farmers thought to have sown the GM-contaminated rapeseed this year has ploughed up the affected field. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth both called on the government to reverse its current policy and require all relevant crops to be destroyed.

Follow Up:
Norwegian Cereal Breeding, tel: +47 62 53 34 10. Report of UK crop destruction from Greenpeace UK.

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