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Imported GMO rapeseed grew in France in 2022 following "gaps"


In an opinion published on Friday, the health agency Anses recommends strengthening surveillance of areas at risk in terms of the dissemination of genetically modified seeds.

Sprouts of genetically modified rapeseed, the cultivation of which is prohibited in Europe, were discovered in early 2022 in the wild around the port of Rouen, revealing shortcomings in the monitoring of these seeds legally imported and processed in France.

The plants, which have since been destroyed but may regrow, were spotted on the side of the road for several kilometers around a factory that imports GMO rapeseed, the national food safety agency said in a notice published on Friday. Handles.

Seeds must have fallen from dump trucks on the way to the factory.

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Noting "


" in the current system, ANSES recommends strengthening the surveillance of areas at risk in terms of the dissemination of transgenic seeds (ports, factories, railway lines, waterways and roads).

The cultivation of genetically modified rapeseed is prohibited in Europe, but they can be imported for processing and use on site.

They are found in certain edible oils, livestock feed or in the form of agrofuels.

ANSES considers that the modified genes can hybridize with local crops, in particular through pollen dispersal.

But in the case identified in Normandy, this "

could only lead to an extremely low rate of contamination

", in terms of "

plants distributed over very small areas

”, and not fields of GMO rapeseed.

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The investigations linked the dissemination of GMO rapeseed to the activity of a Saipol factory, a subsidiary of the French number one oil company Avril, based in the industrial-port area of ​​Rouen.

This factory has been importing GMO rapeseed since 2016, mainly from Canada where this cultivation is authorized.

The alert dates back to the end of February 2022, when the Inf'OGM association, critical of these crops, discovered rapeseed plants on the side of the road and decided to have them analyzed.


It was a dozen skinny plants, but in full bloom

," described the founder of Inf'OGM, Christophe Noisette, to AFP.

The first analyzes reveal the presence of a transgene.

Inf'OGM alerts the Ministry of Agriculture, which takes its own samples in April, asks for the plants to be destroyed in May and then calls on ANSES to assess the measures to be taken and make recommendations.

Another report from the NGO, targeting the Saipol factory in Sète, in the south of France, triggered the opening of another "


" by the services of the ministry, the latter told AFP.

“Rapeseed is an extremely volatile plant”.

In the Norman case, the dissemination of GMOs "

most likely and mostly comes from losses linked to the transport by wheelbarrowing (dump truck, editor's note) of the seeds

", notes ANSES.

Rapeseed is an extremely volatile plant.

It is naive to believe that the GMO will not be disseminated or else we need hyper tight systems.

There, it's not waterproof at all, it's craftsmanship

, "says Christophe Noisette, explaining that he observed"

rapeseed flying

» when unloading ships.

The oil seeds arrive by boat and are unloaded at two port terminals from where they are transported either by a conveyor system or by dump truck to the storage silos adjacent to the Saipol plant, which belong to the Sénalia company.

According to ANSES, "

the procedures put in place by the Saipol factory and aimed at limiting the dissemination of seeds during transport are insufficient or incorrectly put in place


Since then, an “

action plan implemented to avoid the dissemination of seeds has been reinforced

”, reacted the company to AFP.

Its spokesman, Fabien Kay, specified that Saipol was trying to ensure the tightness of the covered trucks, in particular by regularly checking the door seals.

The samples revealed the presence of four different genetically modified oilseed rape: they were designed to tolerate a glyphosate-type herbicide so that when sprayed on the crops, only the undesirable plants are eliminated.

Read alsoAre “new GMOs” really safe for the environment?

Previous cases of unintentional release of GMOs have been observed, underlines ANSES, which cites the surroundings of major Japanese ports as well as railroads and river ports in Switzerland.

Due to seed dormancy cycles, "

new GM rapeseed plants could be observed for several years

", observes ANSES, which therefore recommends enhanced monitoring and destruction of plants at regular intervals.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-20

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