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Agriculture: Genetically Modified Crops

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 6 April 2010

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 10 March (WA 61-2), where all experimental data sets contained in applications to market genetically modified food or feed products are publicly available; and what steps they take to ensure that those data sets are available for independent peer review. [HL2863]

Summaries of applications to market genetically modified food or feed are available on the website of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In addition, the public can request access from EFSA to all the information contained in applications. Regulation (EC) No. 1829/2003 requires these to be made publicly available, apart from certain information that meets defined criteria for confidentiality.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many trials of genetically modified crops were undertaken in England in each year from 2002 to 2009; how many were completed; and what evaluations were carried out on them. [HL3012]

The information requested on the number of genetically modified (GM) crop trials planted and completed from 2002 is given below:

Year

No. of trials planted

No. of trials completed

2002

109

95

2003

8

5

2004

1

1

2005

0

0

2006

0

0

2007

1

1

2008

2

1

2009

1

1

Of the trials planted in 2002, 87 were for the government-sponsored Farm Scale Evaluations research project. This studied the impact on farmland biodiversity of the novel herbicide use associated with GM herbicide-tolerant maize, beet and oilseed rape. The results showed that the herbicide regimes applied in the trials for the GM beet and oilseed rape crops had a negative effect on wildlife compared to the herbicide regimes for the equivalent conventional crops, whereas the results for the GM maize were better than those for its non-GM counterpart.

Nine of the trials planted in 2002 and one of those planted in 2003 were conducted as part of the national list process for the marketing of new seed varieties. Under this statutory process, overseen in England by the Food and Environment Research Agency, varieties are trialled to assess whether they are distinct, uniform and stable, and whether they are an improvement over existing varieties. Only those that meet the required criteria are entered on the national list of approved varieties. As most of the GM-related national list trials in 2002 and 2003 were not completed, no evaluation was made of the outcome.

All of the other trials planted from 2002 to 2009 were undertaken by companies or academic research institutes for their own purposes. Defra has not evaluated the results of these trials. As the regulatory authority, Defra's role was to ensure that these trials were conducted in accordance with the relevant statutory conditions, and formal inspection visits were made for this purpose.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are proposed for disposing of waste products after starch extraction from Amflora potatoes; and, if they are to be processed into animal feeds, whether they will be (a) labelled, and (b) studied for possible adverse effects. [HL3088]

Specific measures are not required for disposing of the residue from these genetically modified (GM) potatoes after starch extraction. The use of the residue for animal feed has been authorised in the European Union (EU) after a robust safety assessment. Feed derived from the potatoes would have to be clearly labelled to indicate its GM origin. The consent holder, BASF Plant Science GmbH, is required to undertake monitoring for possible adverse effects and provide annual reports on this to the Commission. The Amflora GM starch potato will not be marketed or grown in the UK. We do not have a potato starch processing industry or possess an EU quota for the production of starch potatoes.