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Sunday, 28 May, 2000, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Farmers pressed to destroy GM crops
Oilseed rape field
The crops cannot be legally sold in the EU
Scotland's rural affairs minister Ross Finnie has repeated calls for farmers to destroy crops produced from the accidental planting of GM seeds.

His recommendation echoes that of UK Agriculture Secretary Nick Brown.

After holding talks with legal representatives north of the border on Sunday, Mr Finnie conceded that farmers who had used the GM seeds would not be able to sell on its produce.

We all want a clear understanding about the different relationships that should exist on the new devolved development

Ross Finnie, rural affairs minister

He said: "I have reviewed this issue further and in the light of the advice now available to me, it is clear that if any farmer is affected by GM contamination he cannot legally market any seed or crop resulting from that planting."

However, Mr Finnie pointed out that in light of the special circumstances, farmers were being given fresh payments to plant new crops.

He admitted that such a move might still entail losses and he emphasised that the question of compensation was a matter for the seed distributors Advanta Seeds UK.

Political row

The apparent united stance of Mr Brown and Mr Finnie comes after a row over the issue between Holyrood and Westminster.

Scottish ministers were furious that the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Foods had waited a month before informing them of the sale of contaminated seeds.

Ross Finnie
Ross Finnie: "Crops should be destroyed"
Mr Finnie confirmed he had received an apology from MAFF over the lack of communication, but added: " "I am extremely disappointed about what has developed. There are lessons to learn here. We all want a clear understanding about the different relationships that should exist on the new devolved development."

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

The product came from Canada and about 500 farmers across the UK are thought to have used it.

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

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

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

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See also:

27 May 00 | Scotland
Compensation bid over GM seeds
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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