GeneWatch PR: GeneWatch UK Challenges the Commercialisation of UK's First GM Crop at Hearing in Manchester

Embargoed until 00.01 hours Monday 29th April 2002

A Public Hearing into the Government's decision to include the first GM crop on the list of seeds that can be sold to farmers re-opens in Manchester today. This follows an 18 month adjournment because of questions about whether the data supplied by Aventis had been conducted independently as required by the regulations. GeneWatch UK will give evidence to the hearing challenging the Government's decision to add the GM maize variety Chardon LL to the national seed list.

Chardon LL is a variety of genetically modified (GM) fodder maize produced by the multinational agrochemical company Aventis. It has been modified to be tolerant to the herbicide glufosinate ammonium also made by Aventis and sold as Liberty. However during the trials to establish whether the GM crop is of value to farmers it was never tested in conjunction with the herbicide Liberty or any other glufosinate based herbicide. GeneWatch believes that the application of the herbicide could well affect the quantity and quality of the yield.

"The maize has not been tested under the conditions farmers will use it in," said Dr Sue Mayer, Director of GeneWatch UK. "Farmers buying the seed may find it is not as good as expected."

"Experiments on the environmental safety of using this GM maize have not been finished and no proper safety testing for its use as an animal feed has been done," said Dr Mayer. "It's too soon to say this seed can be sold to farmers."


Dr Sue Mayer on 01298 871898 (office); 07930 308807 (mobile).

Notes for Editors:

  1. The Manchester part of the 'Chardon Hearing' will start on Monday 29th April at 1.30pm in the UMIST Manchester Conference Centre, Sackville Street, Manchester.
  2. The Hearing started in London on 2nd October and ran until 3rd November 2000. It was adjourned and re-opens in Manchester on the 29thApril. Daily transcripts from the hearing can be found at
  3. 223 people paid £30 each to make written objections to the Government decision to place Chardon LL onto the National Seed List, of those 67 paid an additional £60 each to be able to speak at a Hearing.
  4. For more information about the commercialisation of Britain's first GM crop see the GeneWatch background briefing and evidence to be given to the inquiry on

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