GM rape found in Bayer seeds
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
The Bayer Group sold rapeseed contaminated with traces of the genetically modified GT73 rapeseed line. This was announced by the German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) shortly before Christmas. GT73 is not approved for cultivation in the EU, and zero tolerance applies: even with minor contamination, the seed is not marketable and may not be cultivated.
Contaminated seed sown in ten German states
"All lots delivered to Germany have now been identified and officially inspected. In one of the seed lots delivered, percentages of approximately 0.1% GT73 were found, in the others no GMO percentages were found", wrote the BVL. Currently, together with the seed producer and the state authorities, "all recipients of the seed already delivered and affected" as well as the areas on which it had already been sown are being determined. "According to current knowledge, the seed was sown on areas in ten German states," wrote the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of the Environment.
The Working Group for Rural Agriculture (Ger.: Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft, AbL) warned that rapeseed seed could survive in the soil for 20 years. Until then, there would also be a risk that some genetically modified rapeseed could germinate. "The polluters must pay for the damage caused to the farmers, in case of doubt the new Monsanto owner Bayer," said AbL genetics expert Annemarie Volling. The genetic engineering information service quoted the company as saying: "We are working closely with the authorities and our trading partners to ensure that producers will not suffer any financial disadvantages."
Poor information policy of competent authorities
In their communications of 21st December, the BVL and the ministries of the states complained about the poor information policy, which they blamed in particular on the French authorities, which were the first to discover the contamination. However, a look at the time schedule shows that German authorities probably also slept here: The French authorities discovered the contamination in September 2018, made it public on 25th October 2018 and also informed the EU Commission, wrote the French portal InfOGM. The affected lot was a mixture of rapeseed from Argentina and Spain, part of which was delivered to Germany, the Czech Republic and Romania.
"On 12 November 2018, the European Commission informed the member states about the French discovery of GM rape," wrote the genetic engineering information service. It remains unknown, why the BVL and state authorities did not inform the public immediately. Instead, the BVL announced at the beginning of December 2018 that no genetic contamination had been found in rapeseed during seed testing by the German authorities between October 2017 and the end of September 2018. Baden-Wurttemberg's Agriculture Minister Peter Hauk wrote on 21 December that it was "extremely annoying that we have only just received the notification from France and about the nationwide exchange". This sounds as if the BVL had only informed the federal states on this day parallel to the public announcement.