Six UK GM seed applications withdrawn by Bayer
Press Release
Embargo: 00:01 Friday 19 December

Six applications for approval of GM seed varieties have been withdrawn from the UK's National Seed List by Bayer CropScience. The company has informed DEFRA it wants to withdraw three varieties of winter oilseed rape, two varieties of spring oilseed rape and one variety of fodder maize [1]. No reason has been given for the withdrawal to DEFRA but it is likely to be for "commercial" reasons.

This leaves just five GM applications for UK seed listing - two beet, one spring oilseed, one winter oilseed and one fodder maize.   The remaining fodder maize is the controversial ChardonLL which was subject to lengthy public hearings in 2000 and 2002 [2].  All varieties withdrawn are resistant to Bayer's herbicide Glufosinate Ammonium.

Securing a place on the National Seed List [3] is an important step in the GM seed approval process and is important for the commercial success of any seed variety in the UK.

The results of the Farm Scale Evaluations, published in October, reported results from the trials involving spring oilseed rape and fodder maize.  The results for spring oilseed rape showed that the GM variety management caused significant reductions in weeds and weed seed production indicating that long term harm to biodiversity would arse from its commercial cultivations.

The Fodder maize results were the reserve but the results have been questioned by many because of the failure to assess the yield and quality of the GM maize and the EU ban on atrazine - the herbicide used on the majority of the non-GM maize crops in the FSE [4].

Commenting Pete Riley of Friends of the Earth said:

"The latest withdrawals suggest that Bayer is not convinced that their GM varieties will compare well with modern conventional varieties.  The Government should take note of this decision and recognise that the current generation of herbicide tolerant crops do not make commercial sense.

These crops have the capacity to further damage UK wildlife which is already under pressure in arable regions.  Key issues of contamination and liability are not close to being resolved because practical and enforceable solutions to protect GM free status cannot be agreed.  The Government should act to ensure that the UK remains GM free and prevent further GM crop cultivation taking place".


 2. The Government received the summary of the Chardon LLL hearing in October 2002.  For Chardon LL to be added the National List of Varieties (the Seed List) all the governments of the UK have to agree.

3. Seeds intended for marketing in the UK undergo National List Trials around the country to establish that they have value for cultivation and use (VCU) in this country.

4. See

Contact: Pete Riley, Friends of the Earth "Real Food" Campaign - 07 712 843