Germany Approves GMO Sugar and Potatoes

Published online: Apr 17, 2008 Growers for Biotechnology
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HAMBURG - Germany's state food safety agency said it approved open-air field trials of sugarbeet and potatoes containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The company Planta has been given permission to sow 12,000 square metres of GMO sugarbeet at two locations between 2008 and 2011, agency BVL said. BASF Plant Science, part of German chemicals group BASF, has been given approval to plant GMO potatoes on 30,000 square metres divided among three locations between 2008 and 2012. "The BVL's safety assessment came to the conclusion that the open-air trials would not have any dangerous influence on humans or animals or the environment," the agency said. The crops may not be sold as food or animal feed. The GMO sugarbeet in the trials is resistant to the weed killer glyphosate. To prevent GMO organisms being spread by pollen, Planta must check sugarbeets every two weeks for flowering and destroy any flowers before they bloom, the agency said. There must be a 10-metre gap between the GMO potatoes and conventional crops. The potatoes were being tested for resistance to several insects and for their starch content, it said. The European Union has legalised commercial production of several GMO maize varieties but field trials on other GMO crops require approval from national governments. Visit www.growersforbiotechnology.org