Suspected genetically-modified petunias withdrawn from sale

Defra has told sellers of suspected genetically-modified (GM) petunias to stop selling them, while a breeder and a retailer have confirmed they have withdrawn plants from the market.

pic Elvira
pic Elvira

After Finnish food standards government agency Elvira found genetically modified orange petunias Defra has advised UK sellers of suspected GM petunias that they have to withdraw them from sale under EU advice.

Defra said: "They are not legal to be sold or marketed in the UK or European states." However, Defra say "investigations are still ongoing and if and when they are confirmed to determine how widespread they are".

UK sellers such as Thompson & Morgan have stopped selling suspected seeds saying: "We’re not selling any. We’ve withdrawn them from sale."

Evira says one batch of petunia seeds - African Sunset - has tested positive. African Sunset breeder Takii says the seed is undergoing independent tests. Takii Europe managing director Ton Kuipers says as a "precautionary action...we have blocked all the sales and have approached all the customers from the past year to see if they still have any in stock to ask them to send them back to us."

He says the company will follow any instructions for local and Dutch national authorities when they are made and that other companies cited by Elvira are following the same actions as Takii.

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