FARMERS AROUND Europe are concerned about the European Commission‘s proposal to allow levels of genetically modified organisms in all seeds.

The provision, which is due to be adopted by commissioners on September 8, would allow GMOs to be present in all conventional and organic seeds within a 0.3-0.5% limit without farmers being aware of it.

In a letter to the Commission dated Friday, July 9, European conventional and organic farmer associations called for a labelling threshold at the reliable detection limit in line with the detection methods capability development (currently 0.1%).

“European farmers‘ groups are deeply concerned about the severe consequences of this proposal on agriculture and on their members‘ ability to maintain their agricultural practices and keep their products free from GMOs, as requested by most consumers, food producers and supermarkets in the European Union,” said José Ramon Cendan, Board member of the European Farmers Coordination (CPE).

The organic movement regards the current proposal as contradicting the Commission promise to ensure that co-existence between GM and conventional production will be possible in the future.

“If the Commission is serious about maintaining non-GM agriculture, then the lowest practicable threshold in seeds is vital,” said Francis Blake, President of the International Foundation for Organic Agriculture’s EU Group.

“The thresholds proposed will not enable farmers to produce food and feed within the 0.9% contamination limit.

“This will make organic production increasingly impossible – such levels of GM contamination would introduce a risk of organic farmers losing their market, even losing their organic status,” Mr Blake said.