Commenting on the move by the only firm authorised to grow GM maize in the UK, the government said this week that Bayer's decision not to press ahead with commercialisation means that it is unlikely that GM crops will be grown in the UK for the 'foreseeable future'.
In a statement issued yesterday Bayer CropScience said that although it welcomed the UK government's policy announcement in March that Chardon LL was both safe and effective, there were drawbacks.
"The government has placed a number of constraints on this conditional approval before the commercial cultivation of GM forage maize can proceed in the UK," the firm said.
"The specific details of these conditions are still not available and thus will result in yet another open-ended period of delay. These uncertainties and undefined timelines will make this five year old variety economically unviable," added Bayer.
CORDIS reports that UK Environment minister Elliot Morley purportedly defended the government's approach to the commercialisation of GM maize. "We do not apologise for the fact that there is a tough EU-wide regulatory regime on GMs. It applies to the whole of the EU, not just the UK," he said.
"We always said it would be for the market to decide the viability of growing and selling GM once the government assessed safety and risk. [The Prime Minister's] strategy unit report on the costs and benefits of GM last year did say there would be limited short term commercial benefits in the UK for growing GM," Morley concluded.
Only a small amount of whole maize kernel is consumed by humans. Maize oil is extracted from the germ of the maize kernel and maize is also a raw material in the manufacture of starch. A complex refining process converts the majority of this starch into sweeteners, syrups and fermentation products, including ethanol. Refined maize products, sweeteners, starch, and oil are abundant in processed foods such as breakfast cereals, dairy goods, and chewing gum.