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Conventional seed wasn't entirely conventional ...
Report: Advanta Admits Biotech Canola Mistake

(Cropchoice News - 18 May) -- A report from the UK yesterday says that Advanta has admitted that conventional canola it has sold for the past two years was mixed with biotech seed. In response, the British agriculture minister says seed standards will be tightened.

The contamination is put at about 1% in canola Advanta sells in Europe. The admission came after a question about seed stocks was raised by opposition politicians in the British Parliament. Netherlands-based Advanta is better known to American farmers as Garst, the brand name of the company's corn hybrids. Advanta also sells seed under the Zeneca, Mommersteeg, and VanderHave names.

At time of publication, Advanta had made no public comment.

While it is widely thought that some conventional seed lots planted in the US this year had slightly lower or similar levels of GMO contamination, the issue has been given little airtime in the US. Most seed companies refused to certify their seed as GMO-free although a few, like Indiana-based Fielder's Choice, are exceptions.

The concern for American farmers, especially with corn, is that under some weather conditions low levels of GMO content in seed stocks could mix with cross-pollination with crops in neighboring fields. This fall, that could create problems for farmers trying to meet export thresholds.

Private genetic testing laboratories like Genetic ID and GMO-free companies like American Growers Foods did conduct GMO testing on conventional seed stocks this spring; but have not made their results public.

Sources: PA News, Advanta