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BBC Wales's Sue Cass reports
"The decision to accept or reject the plans will be made by the Agriculture Secretary"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 06:34 GMT
Assembly awaits ruling on GM seeds

Tomato testing
GM foods have provoked a widespread debate

The Welsh Agriculture Secretary, Christine Gwyther, has been asked to approve Britain's first genetically modified crop seed.

If she and Britain's other agriculture ministers agree, GM maize could be fed to animals for the first time despite claims by opponents that there has not been a safety assessment.

An Essex-based company called Aventis Crop Science (known until last December as AgrEvo) wants a GM maize crop known as T25 to be put on the National Seed List, which is the final regulatory hurdle.

Once on the list, seeds can be sold commercially to farmers.

Christine Gwyther Christine Gwyther faces a decision on GM food
Friends of the Earth say it would be premature before trials are completed, and the organisation is also worried about the trials themselves.

All the UK's agriculture ministers have been asked for their views, but it is unclear whether a refusal by one or more would be enough to stop approval.

Agriculture Secretary Christine Gwyther said that it was essential that the committee has the opportunity to discuss the issue because of the wide public interest in the issue.

During a debate in the Assembly in June, members voted by a majority for the motion that Wales should take a lead in the control of genetically modified organisms and the commercial release of GM crops.

GM protest GM foods: The debate goes on
Conservative Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales Glyn Davies has tabled a question in the Assembly asking if Ms Gwyther will discuss proposals for the entry of GM crops with the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

He also wants to know what proposals she has received for the entry of GM crops into the National Seed List.

Mr Davies said he was worried that whatever decision was made in Britain could be overturned in Europe.

The isue will be discussed at the Assembly's next agriculture committee, on 1 March.

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See also:
03 Jan 00 |  Sci/Tech
Organic food 'proven' healthier
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GM deal finds favour all round
29 Jan 00 |  Sci/Tech
Controls agreed on GM imports
15 Oct 99 |  Sci/Tech
The Pusztai affair - science loses
06 Sep 99 |  Sci/Tech
Charity warns against GM seeds
17 Feb 00 |  Sci/Tech
Farmers 'abandon GM crops'
17 Sep 99 |  The Economy
GM giants face court challenge

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