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Genetically modified crops could be planted in England this year - 14th January

GM Crop

Commercial genetically modified (GM) crops, including maize and oil seed rape could be grown in Britain, following new legislation which will be in place by the spring.

GM crops could be planted in England despite widespread opposition, following new legislation being passed in Europe. The European Parliament has approved that countries can now decide for themselves whether or not they want to plant GM crops.

The majority of British scientists are firmly behind genetic modification believing that it could help farmers produce plants which are healthier and need fewer pesticides. In the short term, the crops are more likely to be used for animal feed, therefore entering the food chain indirectly. The change in legislation opens the door for genetically modified fruit and vegetables to be sold in British supermarkets.

Some campaigners fear that disrupting the natural DNA of a plant could affect biochemical pathways, leading to the production of toxins, which could be harmful to health. However, under the new legislation, each European country will be allowed to decide for itself whether or not to grow GM, once it has been ruled safe by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the EU’s food safety body.

Genetically modified crops are plants where the DNA has been changed to introduce a new traits such as the ability to withstand drought or insect pestilence. They are already widely used in the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and India, with around 85% of all corn crops in the US now being GM.

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