Defra says GM petunias still under investigation

After the HTA alerted Defra to the presence of genetically modified orange petunias in the UK last week, Defra said it does not yet have evidence that the banned plants are in the UK.

Finnish food standards authority Elvira discovered the plants in late April, sparking an EU-wide investigation.

The HTA said on 5 May: "The HTA has alerted the UK authorities to their existence in the UK supply chain for these bedding plants.  Every effort is now being made to trace the plants so that they can be withdrawn from sale. We do not yet know how widespread they are in the UK supply chain. The production of genetically modified petunias is not authorised in the EU, and any plants and seed will be destroyed. The UK authorities will decide what action to take."

But Defra said on 8 May: "A cross-EU investigation is still ongoing. We don;t know whether they are in the Uk yet. We have not had evidence they are in the UK yet. We don't have the evidence to back it up."

Asked what action Defra will take on GM plants found and on importers, Defra said: "We will deal with that when we know the situation."

Defra confirmed that GM ornamentals are banned EU-wide.

Evira said: "Investigations are being made in other EU member states to identify the scale of the spread."

Finnish researchers believe that the new orange colour has been created through genetic manipulation.

Plants for Europe director Graham Spencer said: "GMOs are not allowed to be sold or traded within the EU. But I think it will start a wider debate about what is acceptable and whether the law should be changed."

WD Smith director and BPOA technical committee chairman Michael Smith said: "It's disappointing that it's happened. The industry needs to deal with this internally now and get it sorted out before it becomes a bigger mess. But I don;t think the public should be concerned."

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next



Fluffy flowers and bipinnate foliage make these rarely seen shrubs and small trees highly prized, says Miranda Kimberley.

Pots and containers

Pots and containers

Taking advantage of the latest available sizes, shapes and formats could help you boost production as well as sales, Sally Drury suggests.

Pest & Disease Management - Fusarium patch

Pest & Disease Management - Fusarium patch

Avoid damage to ornamental lawns and sports turf

Dixon on... Progressive innovation

Dixon on... Progressive innovation

Horticulture is typified by innovative thinking. Leaders in change are producers of fresh produce propelled by cost reductions and price stagnation.

Seabrook On... Sensible pricing levels

Seabrook On... Sensible pricing levels

One of the big retail chains has flower seeds on sale at 25p a packet, while one of the specialist mail-order companies has six nigella plants on offer at £15 plus £4.95 carriage charges.

Production stars take innovation lead at UK Grower Awards and Garden Retail Awards

Production stars take innovation lead at UK Grower Awards and Garden Retail Awards

Over the past week it has been the great privilege of the Horticulture Week team to welcome more than 700 leading horticulture professionals to three great industry events - the Garden Retail Awards 2017, the UK Grower Awards 2017 and the third Garden Retail Summit, all hosted by Horticulture Week.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.