GENET archive


APPROVALS / PLANTS: BASF stops GE potato field trials in Ireland

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  GM spuds have had their chips as Irish trials stopped
SOURCE: Irish Independent, Ireland
AUTHOR: Aideen Sheehan
DATE:   12.03.2007

GM spuds have had their chips as Irish trials stopped

CHEMICAL giant BASF has abandoned its plans to grow genetically modified
potatoes in Ireland.

It is now opting to grow them in Britain where there are fewer restrictions

A company spokesperson confirmed that the company would not be going
ahead with field trials in Co Meath which received approval from the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year.

BASF delayed starting the trial last year citing the onerous monitoring
requirements imposed by the EPA. The firm said at the time that it would
assess whether it could find a way to proceed in 2007.

However, a spokesperson has confirmed to the Irish Independent that the
company has decided to abandon the Irish experiment and has opted to
trial the GM potatoes in Britain instead, provoking the ire of
environmentalists there.

The potatoes are genetically altered to improve resistance to blight,
the most serious potato pest, with opponents claiming they could
contaminate conventional crops.

"We don't need GM potatoes and there is no consumer demand for them. The
Government should promote safe and sustainable agriculture, not this
half-baked GM potato plan," said Friends of the Earth campaigner Clare

Although the GM experiment is slow to take off in Ireland, the GM-Free
Ireland network claimed last week that Agriculture Minister Mary
Coughlan is determined to legalise the release of GM crops after the
general election.

Regulations on the co-existence of GM and conventional crops are
expected to be finalised, but opponents want controls tight enough to
make it almost impossible to grow GM food.

A number of county councils around the country have declared themselves
GM-free zones, but this has no legal power as the EPA is the body
charged with approving the cultivation of GM organisms.

However, official figures show that hundreds of thousands of tonnes of
genetically modified (GM) animal feed are now being imported each year.

Up to 95pc of all the maize and soya brought into the country for use as
animal feed is genetically modified, which is legal as long as it is
correctly labelled.

Some 464,000 tonnes of GM maize, 204,000 tonnes of GM soya and 4,300
tonnes of GM rape-seed were imported last year.

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                                  PART II
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TITLE:  Company suspends GM potato trials
SOURCE: RTE News, Ireland
DATE:   24.05.2006

Company suspends GM potato trials

The German BASF plant science company that was granted a five-year
licence to carry out field experiments on genetically modified potatoes
in Co Meath says it has postponed the trials for one year. The company
says it is seeking clarification on a number of the conditions imposed
by the Environmental Protection Agency. A company spokesperson said
similar trials were being conducted successfully in Sweden and the
Netherlands but described some of the ten conditions imposed by the EPA
on the company as being complicated and detailed. The EPA says it is
clarifying the conditions with BASF but stressed that the licence
granted earlier this month stood and would not be changed.

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