HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 c776W
Mr. Meacher

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what evidence she has that GM birdseed has been released into the UK environment and on what scale; what procedures are in place or planned to separate out GM lines in(a) canary seed, (b) linseed, (c) millet and (d) rape seed mixes that are imported; and what action she is taking to prosecute those who illegally contaminate the UK environment. [129757]

Mr. Morley

I have no evidence that any GM seeds are being sold as bird-seed in the UK.

The seeds of canary-grass, linseed, millet and oilseed rape are frequently sold as food for wild birds. However at the present time no GM varieties of these plants are permitted for this use. It is the responsibility of the supplier to comply with regulations on marketing of genetically modified organisms. One type of GM rape seed has authorisation for import into the European Union as grain, however it must be crushed and processed so cannot be used as whole grain in bird seed mixes.

We understand that oilseed rape used in UK bird seed mixes is typically sourced in the UK where no GM varieties are permitted for commercial cultivation.

If we were to become aware through existing inspection procedures that an importer was in breach of the law, we would consider prosecution.

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