HC Deb 25 July 2000 vol 354 cc591-2W
Joan Ruddock

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what end use or uses are planned for the 250 hectares of GM herbicide-tolerant maize being produced annually in UK field trials. [132647]

Mr. Meacher

The Government's agreement with the industry body SCIMAC, which was announced on 5 November 1999, sets out what will happen to the Farm Scale Evaluations produce.

The GM maize does not currently have all the necessary approvals to enter the UK food or feed chain. Therefore, the GM maize (and the all of the other GM crops) being grown in this year's farm scale evaluations programme will be destroyed.

Should the GM maize receive full clearance for food or feed safety during the farm scale evaluations period, the resulting produce will be utilised within identity-preserved channels which will ensure that consumer choice can at all times be respected.

Joan Ruddock

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the recent deliberations of the informal gathering of Environmental Ministers on GMOs in Paris. [132648]

Mr. Meacher

I represented the United Kingdom at an informal meeting of EU Environment Ministers in Paris between 14 and 16 July. On 14 July, the Presidency facilitated a discussion on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) whose purpose was to look at wider issues outside the strict framework of the current revision to Directive 90/220 on the deliberate release of GMOs to the environment.

No decisions were taken as a result of this informal discussion. Ministers agreed, however, that it is important to finalise the conciliation procedure between the Council and the European Parliament on the revised Directive 90/220 and to ensure that the Directive is implemented in a framework which takes account of wider issues such as labelling, traceability and liability.

The Commission indicated that it would present new proposals on labelling and traceability of GMOs and GMO products in the autumn. It also undertook to work with member states to ensure that decisions under Directive 90/220 can be taken in a way which respects both legal obligations and the need to provide a high level of protection for consumers and the environment.

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