Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/29/gm_organic/

Europe grows more (and more) GM crops

As study shows organic health benefits

By Lucy Sherriff

Posted in Science, 29th October 2007 13:17 GMT

Just days after the European Commission gave its stamp of approval to four new GM plants, a report has revealed that the area of Europe's arable land devoted to genetically modified crops has risen by 77 per cent in the last year. The total area of GM cultivation is now 1,000 square kilometres*.

The only widely planted GM crop, a pest-resistant strain of maize, has been grown in Spain, France, Germany, and the Czech Republic. The acreage given over to the crop in France has tripled in the last year, the BBC reports.

The maize has been genetically modified to be resistant to the corn borer, a moth larvae that eats the stem. The corn borer is not found in the UK.

The news comes as a four year study by boffins at Newcastle University has shown that organic produce, although variable, has higher levels of nutrients such as antioxidants, and lower levels of fatty acids.

The research has promoted calls from organic standards body the Soil Association for the government's Food Standards Agency to shift its official position on organic food. The FSA says the current balance of science on the subject still shows no real benefit in eating organic, but says the subject is under review. It will publish its findings next year. ®

*4.8 centiWales. Pedants.