There are calls to ban Genetically Modified corn as new evidence shows that the spread of the GM pollen is enormous. Tests reveal that the wind can carry it for miles and not just 65 feet as previously claimed.
The Mail Online report: Toxic’ pollen from GM corn can travel miles to contaminate the countryside, researchers claim.
Currently, European Union regulators assume pollen from the crop, which has been manipulated to include a toxin that kills pests, can travel only 20 to 40 metres.
However, research suggests that significant amounts of the pollen, which harms butterflies and moths, can be carried up to 4.45 kilometres – 2.7 miles – on the wind.
Critics say that if this is correct the rules must be redrawn to protect the countryside and stop the pollen contaminating conventional and organic farms and food over vast areas.
The European Food Safety Authority is now reviewing the approval process for the corn – known as Bt maize – following the German study.
Its investigation is particularly important because the European Commission is in the final throes of approving a type of GM maize that was assessed under a safety regime that did not take account of the new information.
The researchers measured the spread of pollen from maize crops over ten years at hundreds of sites in Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.
They discovered that assumptions that maize pollen is heavy and falls to the ground over a short distance from the plants were spectacularly wrong. The research found the concentration ranged from 23.3million grains of pollen per square metre close to the fields to 2,857 grains at greater distances. Significant amounts of pollen were found more than 2½ miles away.
Previous assumptions on pollen dispersal were based on the premise that the air was still, but the German researchers pointed out that these conditions are ‘practically non-existent’ in the real world. They said some studies suggest that the pollen can be lifted high in the air by strong winds and carried for more than 40 miles.
The experts, whose research was published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, said even small amounts of pollen containing the toxin – as little as four grains – will harm or kill sensitive butterflies and moths.