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French refusal to pull up GMO "contaminated" maize splits government

artificial gene constructs are causing political controversy in France.

Robert Walgate(walgate@scienceanalysed.com)

LONDON, 18 July (Science Analysed) Members of the French Government are taking different sides after a surprise announcement on 14 July that the Government will not pull up some 4 500 hectares of "contaminated" maize, parts per thousand of whose seeds have been found to contain artificial and unauthorized Bacillus thuringiensis gene constructs.The discovery was revealed last week in a regional newspaper, Le Quotedien du Sud-Ouest, but had been known to the Government since February, a spokesman for the French agricultural research institute, l'Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) told BioMed Central today (18 July).

The contamination had been detected by a government consumer protection agency, the DGCCRF (Direction Generale de la Consommation et de la Repression des Fraudes), whose discoveries were then leaked to the local paper.

According to INRA, the contaminating gene constructs involved are an approved Novartis B.th. construct, and another similar...

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