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Activists inspect GM maize in Blitterswijck

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The field with GM maize is part of a research project with 6 fields by Plant Research International (PRI) ordered by the ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety. The test setup consists of 1 hectare of GM maize surrounded with 4 so called receptor fields with conventional maize. The purpose is to test pollination over a distance of 25 meters (the isolation distance set in the Dutch Coexistence Agreement for conventional maize). The GM maize used in the test Mon810. This variety is allowed in Europe for commercial cultivation by the European Commission, but several Eu member states have banned it by now because of potential harmfull effect on the environment and insufficient test of the safety for health on the long term.

Heavy critic on coexistence test
This so-called coexistence test has been critisized heavilly in The Netherlands and not only by activitists. Biologica, the organic chain organisation, suggested to use conventional maize for this experiment. Independent scientists had concluded beforehand that with the current setup the test will not provide statistically reliable data about the effectiveness of the isolation distances. So the question is: why is this experiment being conducted at all? According to PRI the test will provide other interesting data, but so far it is unknown what this information might be. Biologica and Platform AardeBoerConsument, both partners in the Coexistence Agreement, have rejected the experiment.

Preliminary findings
Some findings of the inspectors of XminY en Aseed deviated from the official information about the experiment regarding the size of the receptor fields and the distance to other maize fields. For example there was conventional maize -not part of the test- at about 270 meters from the GM field, while the department of Biosafety of the government claims there is no other maize being cultivated within 500 meters from the test field. "Generally the maize was in bad condition” says one of the inspectors. “Drought has had a clear effect on the maize, the bottom half of many plants were totally withered. This will further deminish the usefullness of the experiment." The inspectors will present a full report to the administration of the municipality Meerlo-Wanssum where the field trial is located.

Elsewhere on this website you can find more information about the introduction of this type of maize in Europe.

picture report:

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A receptorfield seen from the road. The gm-field is right behind it.

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the gm-maize

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Take care! flowering gm-maize. It is not easy to see, but behind the cows grows conventional maize not part of the test

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Conventional maize that is not part of the experiment but about to get contaminated with GM pollen.

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taking a soil sample in the gm-field

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one more soil sample

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checking the distance between the gm-field and receptorfield: about 25 meters

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also the cows want to know the distance between the gm-mais and their future fodder

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finished with measuring

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immediately getting started with some calculations