EU summons BASF over 'illegal' potatoes in Swedish field

Sep 06, 2010

Europe slapped a summons on German chemical giant BASF on Monday after a "blunder" allowed seed from a new genetically modified potato to remain in a field in Sweden.

"Obviously there was a blunder which took place," said a spokeswoman for the European Commission, which is responsible for licensing products long labelled 'Frankenfoods' in media.

"The wrong was sent to Sweden," the spokeswoman said, triggering the summons to "explain" why "flowers" of Amadea, a GM crop currently being prepared by BASF, but which is not yet authorised, were found in the field.

Brussels is also gathering authorities from Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic, the three territories where Amflora -- a strain of potato that is authorised for the likes of glue or paper-making, but not human consumption -- is legally grown.

According to Greenpeace, the potato has been "grown illegally in open fields in Sweden for months" by Plant Science Sweden, a subsidiary of BASF.

The environmental campaigners say that while Amadea has been cleared from the field, planted on June 11, Amflora has been allowed to remain, after "a deplorable lapse in bio-security" that a spokeswoman said showed that such companies "can't be trusted."

said the case echoed one in which "thousands of hectares of unauthorised had to be destroyed after being grown illegally across Germany this summer."

The commission spokeswoman asked: "Who knows what the effects of growing a largely untested GM crop for months in the open environment will be?"

BASF admitted on its website that it had found "extremely small quantities of Amadea potatoes in Amflora fields" during "regular in-house quality controls."

It said that the "level of comingling is less than 0.01 percent, which translates to 47 Amadea plants among approximately 680,000 Amlora plants," all of which had been "removed."

Amadea was submitted last week for regulatory approval in the EU.

Explore further: How lizards regenerate their tails: Researchers discover genetic 'recipe'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU effort to end GM crop deadlock meets resistance

Jul 13, 2010

The European Commission sought Tuesday to end a deadlock blocking the growth of genetically modified crops in Europe, proposing to give countries the freedom to ban the controversial foods.

GMO maize strain safe: EU food agency

Jun 30, 2009

A genetically modified strain of maize, banned in some EU countries, poses no risk to health or the environment, the European Food Safety Authority declared Tuesday.

GM rice from U.S. found in EU

Sep 13, 2006

Genetically modified rice from the United States has been found in the European Union, in violation of a ban on import, growth and sale of such crops.

Recommended for you

Sequencing the genome of salamanders

22 hours ago

University of Kentucky biologist Randal Voss is sequencing the genome of salamanders. Though we share many of the same genes, the salamander genome is massive compared to our own, about 10 times as large.

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rgwalther
not rated yet Sep 06, 2010
The attack of the Killer Potatoes...
knikiy
not rated yet Sep 06, 2010
I don't know why BASF is even bothering with the EU. The US Chamber of Commerce needs to update its promotional literature to hawk the frankenfood friendly status of the US.
fixer
not rated yet Sep 06, 2010
Deliberately destroying viable food to comply with burocracy is a crime against humanity, or are these spuds actually poisonous in some way?

Perhaps some people in the "commission" are too well fed.
ormondotvos
not rated yet Sep 06, 2010
You need to take precautions against the precautionary principle!

Humans wouldn't be allowed to breed for fear of problems according to these rules!
CarolinaScotsman
not rated yet Sep 13, 2010
Humans wouldn't be allowed to breed for fear of problems according to these rules!

Might not be a bad idea.