Coexistence of GM crops with non-GM crops is possible in the EU.

01.02.2005

Coexistence of GM crops with non-GM crops is possible in the EU

Biotechnologies are considered a key pillar of the European Community’s “Lisbon Agenda”, and collectively, plant science, plant genomics and plant biotechnology is a major component of biotechnology research, science and development. However, in order to benefit from this innovation, it is crucial that the EU and Member States permit different agricultural production systems to co-exist.

This paper considers the issue of the coexistence of growing conventional, organic and GM crops in Europe now that the EU regulatory framework for approving GM crop plants for import and cultivation is completed. Conventional and organic agricultural products may contain some traces of GM material. This reality is recognised by EU legislation on GMOs which sets a Community threshold of 0.9% for the adventitious presence of GM in non-GM products. Establishing thresholds for adventitious presence of one material in another is not a situation unique to GMOs since in the production of food, feed and seed it is practically impossible to achieve products that are 100% pure.

In July 2003 the Commission provided guidance to EU Member States on the establishment of coexistence rules that will provide for choice among different cropping systems and growing techniques. These must be fair and proportional – a primary objective being to enable the non-GM farming community to produce crops below the community 0.9% labelling threshold. EuropaBio supports the Commission’s approach, published in the July 2003 guidelines and believes coexistence of GM crops and non-GM crops in the EU is already possible without adopting further prescriptive legislation, be it at EU or national level.

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