What is “zero tolerance”?

It is difficult and costly to distinguish different varieties of the same crop, when these are shipped and processed. As with all aspects of agriculture, 100% “purity” is impossible to achieve. Just as there may be a grain of sand on a lettuce, there may be “low level presence” of a given GM variety in a commodity shipment. If this grain turns out to be a variety that is not yet authorised in the EU, the entire shipment is technically illegal and not allowed to enter the EU.

This “zero tolerance” principle maintained by the EU is at odds with the reality of a fast growing number of different GM varieties on the world market. “Technical solutions” for food and seed containing low level presence of GM material not yet approved in the EU need to be introduced for more legal certainty.