KEYCODE BAYER #363, 04 jun 2008

Belgian rape seed fields contaminated

Fifteen Belgian rape seed fields, owned by Bayer CropScience, have been contaminated by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) banned in Europe, the country's public health ministry announced yesterday. The Bayer subsidiary, which specialises in improving crop yields, informed the Belgian authorities of the contamination, which happened last month during the planting of normal rape seed.

"The conventional seed lot was contaminated by five percent GMO rape seed," the statement said. A preliminary investigation carried out by the multinational put the problem down to "human error."

Fields destroyed
Bayer "has taken measures to prevent the spread of non-authorised GMOs" including the uprooting and destruction of the young crop, which had not yet flowered or produced grain. The fields will be monitored for several years for signs of any genetically modified plants.

The ministry said it would inform the European Commission and EU member states of the matter and the remedial measures taken.

Please also read the Press Release Rapeseed: GM Contamination Scandal in Germany