GM crop trials start again in Britain in ''secret''
July 27, 2009
Genetically modified crops are being grown in Britain for the first time in twelve months after controversial trials were resumed without alerting the public, reports the Associated Foreign Press. Cultivation of a field of potatoes designed to be resistant to pests was abandoned more than a year ago when environmental protesters ripped up the crop. But, without alerting the public, the project near Tadcaster in northern England has been restarted, prompting warnings from green groups that local farms and residents could be put at risk. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the potatoes would be grown in a safe environment, where there is no risk of contamination. They would not be used for human or animal consumption, it said. The trial, run by Leeds University, is looking at potatoes that are resistant to a parasite worm that costs British farmers millions of pounds a year in lost and damaged crops. Genetically modified crops have a gene, or genes, inserted into them in the lab so that they acquire traits that are useful to farmers. They are widely grown in North America, South America and China. But in Europe they have run into fierce resistance, led by green groups who say the crops carry risks through cross-pollination, potentially creating "super-weeds" that are impervious to herbicides.