Genetically engineered oilseed rape in Switzerland


One of the few empirical studies on transportation losses of genetically engineered oilseed rape in Europe was recently conducted in Switzerland. 2400 samples were taken along railway tracks throughout Switzerland. 50 samples proved positive for the presence of an enzyme that is characteristic for Roundup Ready plants and makes them tolerant to herbicides with the active ingredient glyphosate. The high number of genetically engineered oilseed rape plants found in the samples in 2011 and 2012 was remarkable because the import of transgenic oilseed rape has been prohibited in Switzerland since 2008. Only small traces of contamination of less than 0.5 percent are allowed. The findings lead to the conclusion that transgenic oilseed rape plants were able to survive along railway tracks for long periods because extensive glyphosate sprayings of these specific areas offered them selective advantages. Another study (Hecht et al., 2013) confirmed these findings and identified loading terminals and stations as key risk areas where there was a higher concentration of transgenic plants.


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