Evaluation of the risks of contaminating Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed with High Erucic Acid Rapeseed and identification of mitigation strategies.
High erucic acid rapeseed (HEAR) oil is under increasing demand for various industrial applications. However, many growers are concerned that if they grow the crop they will not be able to revert to other rapeseed varieties in the future due to the risk of contamination and inability to maintain acceptable thresholds. This review considered published literature and, using the same criteria as that used to contain transgenic crops, aimed to identify the key risks of contamination, broadly prioritise them and identify pragmatic mitigation options. High risks were identified as being due to HEAR volunteers in the current low erucic acid rapeseed crop. Moderate risks are mainly due to the presence of arable weeds also high in erucic acid. It is important therefore that both are appropriately managed. It is evident that there are risks of various degrees throughout the entire LEAR crop production process. These arise both from the morphological traits of rapeseed and farm production methods. Whilst every site and situation is different and should be evaluated individually considering localised issues, it does seem that with care and attention to detail, following good practice advice, that growers should not be unduly deterred from growing both HEAR and LEAR crops or reverting to LEAR after previously growing HEAR. They key is to understand the risks and adopt appropriate mitigation measures.