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EU To Pay for Contaminated Crops
Updated 12:13 PM ET June 9, 2000
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - European farmers who had to destroy rapeseed crops contaminated by genetically modified seed will be fully reimbursed, the European Commission said Friday.

"Farmers should not suffer financially from a situation they were not responsible for," said EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler.

It was discovered last month that hundreds of acres of arable land in several EU nations, including France, Belgium, Britain, Sweden and Finland, were contaminated after genetically modified seeds were accidentally mixed with regular colza seeds.

Rapeseed oil is marketed in the United States and Canada as canola oil.

The genetically modified strain has rendered the crops unmarketable because under EU law such foodstuffs cannot be sold to the public.

EU rules provide for a payment to farmers of $79 per ton of rapeseed harvested by June 30 at the latest. EU officials said although the contaminated crops have been destroyed, farmers will still be paid the subsidy.