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2-Plants: EU sees marked decrease in GM crop field trials

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TITLE:  EU sees marked decrease in GM crop field trials
SOURCE: European Communities, Cordis News
DATE:   Apr 14, 2003

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EU sees marked decrease in GM crop field trials

The number of field-based trials of genetically modified (GM) crops in
the EU has fallen by around 80 per cent since 1998, a new Commission
study has shown.

The survey, carried out by researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute in
Karlsruhe, the Institute for prospective technological studies in
Seville, and Hohenheim University in Stuttgart, concluded that the main
cause for the sharp decline was the unclear legal situation surrounding
GM products in Europe.

Around 22 per cent of respondents cited legal uncertainties as the main
reason for having cancelled GM crop research projects. Much of this
uncertainty was due to the EU wide moratorium on new authorisations of GM
products that is currently still in place, said the authors of the study.

Other reasons given by companies and public research bodies for shelving
projects were a generally low acceptance of GM products among the
population of Europe, and an uncertain future commercial market for such

The survey results also show that large and financially secure
multinational companies are most active in this area, and are behind 65
per cent of all field trials. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
only account for 6 per cent of total field trial activity, with the
remaining portion being carried out by public research bodies,
universities and other institutions.

Despite the greatly reduced levels of GM crop research in the last five
years, the study's authors noted that a large number of GM products are
currently in the pipeline and awaiting trials. With the recent
introduction of new EU laws on the labelling and traceability of
genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the researchers are expecting to
see a surge in EU field trials.

On the subject of a separate EU GMO regulation, one covering their
deliberate release into the environment, the European Commission warned
12 Member States on 10 April that they had missed the deadline for
transposing the directive into national law.

France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Ireland,
Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Finland all failed to meet an agreed
deadline of 17 October 2002 for adopting the new measures, which include
guidelines on environmental risk assessment and requirements to
communicate information to the public.

Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström said: 'I urge Member States to
quickly bring their national legislation into line with the new agreed EU
framework for regulating the release of GMOs into the environment.'

For details of the GM crop field trial study, please consult the
following web address:

Category: Miscellaneous Data Source
Provider: European Commission Document 
Reference: Based on information from the Fraunhofer Institute and the
European Commission
Subject Index : Agriculture; Biotechnology; Scientific Research;
Legislation, Regulations

RCN: 20084