Europe and coexistence

In 2006 the European Commission published a Recommendation containing guidelines for member states about the kind of rules they may put in place to allow the growing of GM crops alongside non-GM and organic crops.

These guidelines set down the labelling threshold of 0.9% as the level of contamination that rules should aim at achieving. This has been controversial because many wish avoid GM all together and the EU's GM Traceability and Labelling rules (see section on EU authorisation) say that 0.9% represents a level that is allowable without labelling only when contamination is accidental or technically unavoidable. A legal opinion from Paul Lasok QC, commissioned by several groups in the UK, has said that the Commission's approach is 'fundamentally flawed' and that the approaches of the Commission (and the UK Government if it follows the Recommendation) have 'no basis in Community legislation and are wrong in law'.

In 2009, the European Commission published another document outlining the Co-existane regulations that have so far been put in place. By February 2009, 15 member states had regulations. These were; Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, France, Hungry, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden.

GeneWatch is pressing for Europe-wide coexistence rules which aim to avoid GM contamination completely and an industry funded compensation scheme for situations were non-GM farmers have economic losses as a result of GM contamination.


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