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Saturday, 27 May, 2000, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
Compensation bid over GM seeds
Oilseed rape field
The government says the crops do not pose a health risk
Scottish farmers who accidentally planted GM seeds have been told by the UK Government to dig them up or dispose of them after they have been harvested.

They responded on Saturday by saying that they will fight for compensation for all those who have been affected by the blunder.

It is believed thousands of hectares of land in Scotland has the GM contaminated oil seed rape growing on it.

Ross Finnie
Ross Finnie: Meeting with NFU
The product came from Canada and about 500 farmers across the UK are thought to have used it.

Although the Ministry of Agriculture in London says the seed is safe, farmers are now being strongly urged to destroy their crops.

The government has advised farmers to take legal action against the seeds suppliers Advanta Seeds UK.

The National Farmers Union of Scotland will meet the Scottish Agriculture Minister Ross Finnie next week to discuss how they can recoup their losses.

We will be pushing for full compensation for all farmers who inadvertently planted these crops

Natonal Farmers Union statement
In a statement the union said "Farmers are innocent victims in this episode.

"We will be pushing for full compensation for all farmers who inadvertently planted these crops.

"If MAFF had informed the Scottish Executive about the problem earlier, then much of the affected seed need not have been sown and Scottish farmers would not be in this situation."

Mr Finnie is likely to take legal guidance before advising farmers in Scotland on what to do about compensation, although he agrees the rape seed crops should be destroyed.

Multi-million pound bill

The row erupted after Advanta disclosed that some of its conventional rape-seed "sold and sown" in the UK during the past two years was actually GM contaminated.

Under EU rules, the GM crops produced from the seed cannot be marketed within Europe itself.

The NFU estimates that the contamination incident could leave its UK members up to 3m worse off.

Advanta believes its rape seed was contaminated by pollen from a GM crop in a neighbouring field in Canada in 1998.

The government was first told on 17 April about the mistake, but did not make it public until a month later.

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See also:

27 May 00 | UK Politics
Farmers advised to 'destroy' GM crops
26 May 00 | Sci/Tech
GM seed fears grow
25 May 00 | UK Politics
Court action threatened over GM crops
23 May 00 | UK Politics
Protest over GM blunder
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