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2-Plants: Bayer withdraws GMO oilseed rape in the EU



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TITLE:  NEW SET-BACK FOR GMO CROPS IN EUROPE
        Bayer withdraws GMO oilseed rape
SOURCE: FRIENDS OF THE EARTH EUROPE
DATE:   26 Jul 2005

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NEW SET-BACK FOR GMO CROPS IN EUROPE
Bayer withdraws GMO oilseed rape

Brussels/London, 26 July 2005 - The German biotech giant Bayer has
withdrawn its applications to grow genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape
in the European Union, Friends of the Earth revealed today. The move
comes as public calls for GM-free zones spreads across Europe and follows
a series of research findings which have uncovered environmental damage
resulting from the GM crop being grown.

Bayer is the only biotech company to have applied for permission to grow
GM oilseed rape commercially in Europe, but it was revealed this week
that their applications have been withdrawn [1].

Earlier this year, results from the world's biggest environmental trials
confirmed that growing GM oilseed rape, which has been modified to make
it resistant to a weed killer, reduced the level of wildlife in the field
[2]. New research by the UK Government, revealed yesterday, showed that
the GM crop had also crossed with wild plants to produce herbicide-
resistant 'superweeds' in the UK [3].

While pressure to grow and import GM crops in Europe has grown, so has
resistance from local authorities and communities. There are now GM-free
initiatives virtually in every European country; 164 European regions and
over 4500 local governments and smaller areas have declared themselves GM
free or want to restrict commercial growing of GM crops [4]. Last month
European countries voted to allow France and Greece to maintain their
national bans on the import and cultivation of GM oilseed rape [5].

Friends of the Earth Europe's GM Campaigner, Adrian Bebb said:

"Bayer's decision to withdraw its oilseed rape is a major step forward to
protecting Europe from genetically modified crops. If this oilseed rape
was grown commercially in Europe it would have been a disaster for
consumers, farmers and wildlife. It is now time to move forward and for
Europe to support the type of farming and food production that people
want and trust."


CONTACT
Adrian Bebb +49 1609 1163 (mobile)
Clare Oxborrow (UK) +44 7712 843211 (mobile)


Notes:
[1] Bayer's about turn on GM oilseed rape was revealed in correspondence
from the UK Department of the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA) and confirmed by the German authorities handling the
applications. Received in an email from DEFRA, 25 July 2005. "On our
DEFRA web site we say that these applications are pending transfer from a
90/220 and 2001/18 application to a 1829/2003 food and feed application.
Our understanding is that the applications have actually been withdrawn
by Bayer."

[2]
www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/gm_crop_trial_blow_to_biot_21032005.html
(March 2005)

[3]
www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/government_study_finds_uks_25072005.html

[4]
www.gmofree-europe.org

[5]
www.foeeurope.org/press/2005/AB_24_June_vote.htm





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