GM crop ‘ruins fields for 15 years’
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Published: 09 October 2005
GM crops contaminate the countryside for up to 15 years after they have been harvested, startling new government research shows.
The findings cast a cloud over the prospects of growing the modified crops in Britain, suggesting that farmers who try them out for one season will
find fields blighted for a decade and a half.
Financed by GM companies and Margaret Beckett’s Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the report effectively torpedoes the Government’s strategy for introducing GM oilseed rape to this country.
Ministers have stipulated that the crops should not be grown until rules are worked out to enable them to “co-exist” with conventional ones. But the research shows that this is effectively impossible.
The study, published by the Royal Society, examined five sites across England and Scotland where modified oilseed rape has been cultivated, and found significant amounts of GM plants growing even after the sites had been returned to ordinary crops. It concludes that the research reveals “a
potentially serious problem associated with the temporal persistence of rape seeds in soil.”