ecoNews list | previous | next | ecoglobe front page | site index and keywords
ecoglobe [yinyang] news (21 April 1999)
Swiss authorities reject GE field trials applications

BERN, Switzerland (April 16, 1999 11:19 a.m. EDT

- In its first ruling on genetically modified crops, the Swiss government on Friday rejected applications to experimentally plant genetically altered corn and potatoes.

The decision was based on concerns over antibiotic-resistant genes in the potatoes and possible pollination of nonmodified corn crops, the federal office for the environment said.

The decision did not imply that Switzerland rejects in principle the planting of such crops, according to the office's director, Philippe Roch.

It was the first such ruling since Swiss voters last year decisively rejected a proposal to impose tough restrictions on genetic engineering. In the June referendum, 67 percent of those who voted threw out the initiative.

A government research institute wanted to test the potato crop's resistance to mildew. But environmental authorities objected to the modified vegetables, saying they contain a gene resistant to antibiotics sometimes used in medicine.

A Swiss company applied to plant the corn to test its resistance to a herbicide. Permission was denied because the risk of other plants being fertilized by genetically modified pollen couldn't be eliminated.

Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature welcomed the ruling, which can be appealed.

The use of genetic technology in food production is common in the United States but is subject to stricter regulation in Europe.

Switzerland is a leading force in biotechnology, with Basel-based pharmaceutical giants Novartis and Roche ranking among world leaders in the field. (Copyright 1999 Associated Press)

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed for research and educational purposes only. **

Feedback by email to, fax to 04-3856767 or phone 04-3843269

ecoglobe [yinyang] news (21 April 1999)
ecoNews list | previous | next | top | ecoglobe front page | site index & keywords

this site: