Page last updated at 11:11 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 12:11 UK

'Unauthorised' release of GM seed

Oilseed rape
The seed had been used at three sites in Scotland.

Trial sowings of a new variety of oilseed rape in Scotland have been found to contain small amounts of unauthorised GM material.

The Scottish Government said there were no current risks to human or animal health or to the environment.

Plants on the three trial plots - two in Aberdeenshire and one near Arbroath in Angus - will be destroyed.

Friends of the Earth said it supported the government's "action to handle the situation".

The organisation's director, Duncan McLaren, added that in his view this was another example of the "lackadaisical attitude" of the GM industry.

Environment Minister Michael Russell said: "Had these plants been allowed to mature, the risk to the environment could have been very serious. However, prompt action by the Scottish Government is ensuring that the situation is remedied.

"This further emphasises the continuing need for rigorous controls on GM material and for Scotland to remain a GM crop-free zone."

He added that steps were being undertaken to understand how this had happened and to ensure that it does not happen again.

Specific authorisation

No GM crops can be grown in Europe without specific authorisation.

In this case, a seed sample of a conventional oilseed rape variety was found to contain small amounts of GM material.

It had been due to have been sown at national trial sites in Scotland and England. This will now not happen and the seed has been sent for destruction.

It had already been used at three trial sites in Scotland.

The Scottish Government said these would only have represented a risk to the environment had the plants been allowed to mature and set seed.

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04 Jul 07 |  Scotland
Scottish GM crops plan considered
26 Feb 06 |  Scotland
GM firm to shut its British labs
02 Jul 04 |  Berkshire
UK's tentative go-ahead for GMs
09 Mar 04 |  Science/Nature
Executive backs UK GM crop move
09 Mar 04 |  Scotland
Q&A: GM farm-scale trials
09 Mar 04 |  Science/Nature
Fresh call to halt GM crops
16 Oct 03 |  Scotland
Timeline: Scotland's GM crops
11 Jun 03 |  Scotland

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