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Genetically Modified Organisms

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the current state is of her farm trials of genetically modified organisms; and when she intends to report on these; [126415](2) when the results of her field trials of genetically modified organisms will be published. [126570]

The GM crop farm-scale evaluation (FSE) trials for spring-sown maize, beet and oil seed rape have been completed. The results are currently being peer reviewed by the independent scientific journal 'The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society'.We currently anticipate that the results will be published not before late September. However, as is always the case with such publications, this is entirely at the discretion of the journal and subject to their acceptance of the scientific papers. Winter oil seed rape results are due in 2004.On the day of publication the independent Scientific Steering Committee that has overseen the FSEs and the research team that has conducted the work will hold an afternoon meeting at which the results will be presented to the wider scientific community and members of the public, followed by a question and answer session.Copies of the scientific papers will be made available as will a short non-specialist summary of the results written by the research consortium and approved by the independent Scientific Steering Committee.This initial meeting will be followed by a second meeting hosted by the independent Scientific Steering Committee some weeks later, at which the public and wider scientific community will again have an opportunity to hear the results and ask questions.On publication of the results the scientific steering committee will publish its advice to ministers signifying the completion of the FSEs. The results will immediately be forwarded to the Government's statutory advisory body on the release of GMOs, the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE), who will advise on the implications of the results for the possible commercial cultivation of the crops in question. Before ACRE formulate their advice they will hold an open meeting at which they will take evidence from experts and stakeholders.

Further details of how copies of the final report can be obtained, and how stakeholders and the public can attend the events or submit evidence to ACRE, will be announced in due course, and will also be published on the farm scale evaluation website at