GM Crops to Contaminate Organic Food, By EU Order

From: Andrew Johnson

Date: 2007-06-18 12:18:55

GM Crops to Contaminate Organic Food, By EU Order Daily Mail; London (UK), 2007-06-13 A NEW GM farming regime that will let so-called ‘Frankenstein food’ contaminate neighbouring fields of organic produce is to be allowed by EU agriculture ministers. Yesterday, they drew up rules allowing GM crops to be grown commercially in the same area as organic farms. Crucially, Britain and other EU states have agreed that the spread of GM genes to organic crops through pollen would be permitted. They decided that it will be legal for GM growers and crops to contaminate up to 0.9 per cent of organic crops in nearby fields. Any organic crop which is contaminated with GM genes below this threshold will not legally lose its status in the eyes of EU law- makers and governments. However, the decision has angered GM critics and organic farming groups in Britain and across Europe who insist that no contamination should be allowed. Organic food supporters argue that even a small amount of GM contamination effectively removes the right of consumers to choose truly pure and organic food. The new legalisation of GM contamination of the food chain was supported by food and farming minister Ben Bradshaw in a vote of ministers in Brussels. The UK’s pro-GM stance is indicative of a wider campaign within the Government to force GM farming and food on the nation, despite mass consumer opposition. Friends of the Earth complained that organic food, which is seeing a boom in sales, is being sacrificed to clear the way for new intensively produced GM crops. UK trials found that wildlife, including the number of insects, bees, butterflies and some birds, suffer in GM crop systems. This is because the spraying of chemicals associated with GM crops effectively wipes out all the weeds that provide a food source for wildlife. Friends of the Earth’s GM campaigner Clare Oxborrow said: ‘Allowing organic food to be contaminated with GM material is completely unacceptable. ‘European Union ministers have put the interest of the biotech industry ahead of consumers who believe that organic food should be produced to strict environmental standards. ‘Organic farmers will now find it increasingly difficult to protect their crops from GM. ‘This vote must not be used as a green light to allow routine GMcontamination. ‘The EU and UK must now introduce tough legislation to protect organic and conventional farmers from genetic pollution.’ The move was also condemned by the Tories, who said it would threaten public confidence in the safety and health benefits of organic produce. Conservative food and farming spokesman Peter Ainsworth said: ‘The EU’s plans to allow nearly one per cent GM contamination to go unacknowledged are shocking. ‘Organic food is the fastest growing sector in the food market. However, the very success of organic food is dependant on consumer trust. ‘There are genuine concerns that these new proposals will work to undermine this.’ s.poulter@dailymail…. ‘The EU’s plans are shocking’

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