Defra’s GM Inspectorate (GMI) has insisted there is no risk to nearby crops or the wider environment after the discovery genetically modified (GM) seed at a number of sites in England and Scotland.
The inspectorate has confirmed the discovery of a ’unintended presence’ of GM seed in a batch of conventional oilseed rape seed imported from France. The seed is now being destroyed.
The GMI was informed by a seed company after a test result on a batch of imported seed indicated a possible GM presence.
The seed had been sown in small plots at several sites in England and Scotland, mostly as part of conventional trials for the official registration of new plant varieties.
In a statement, Defra said the company responsible was cooperating to ensure destruction of all the affected plants, with the GMI overseeing this activity in England.
Seed from the same batch that has not been planted is being recalled.
Defra said: "There is no risk to adjacent crops or the wider environment as plants that have grown from the affected seed would not flower until next spring."
Professor Huw Jones, head of Cereal Transformation Lab at Rothamsted Research, said: “It is unfortunate that GM seeds have been found in a batch of imported conventional oil seed rape.
"But this confirms that UK screening procedures are robust and this was identified at an early stage of cultivation to allow effective remedial actions to be taken.”