Letter: Isolating GM crops

Sir: Guy Charter asks how GM crops can be isolated adequately when they can be pollinated by bees (letter, 28 May). I asked this very question of an information officer of the Health and Safety Executive and she told me that the existing regulations were not expected, and never intended, to prevent all cross-pollination, which was not possible. They are intended only to "minimise" cross-pollination.

To me, this seemed very much like imposing a regulation of "not many naked lights" in the presence of inflammable gases.

Even if Guy Charter were able to persuade his bees to refrain from cross- pollinating GM and non-GM crops, can we really believe that wind pollination only takes place over a few yards?

In practice, most pollen will only travel a very short distance, but the occasional wind eddy is bound to lift some pollen clear of the ground, from where it may travel on the winds for any distance: after all, sand from the Sahara occasionally causes coloured rain in England. It seems that the regulations are only intended to reduce cross-pollination to the level where it does not interfere with the trials themselves. They do not, and cannot, prevent escape of GM genetic material into the wild.

CHRISTOPHER PADLEY

Louth and District Green Party

Market Rasen

Lincolnshire

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