THE GOVERNMENT has announced how it plans to consult on co-existence measures for genetically-modified and non-GM crops.

A series of workshops with stakeholders will be held over the summer, followed by a consultation paper released in the autumn.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was looking for views on:

  • the co-existence measures needed at farm level for each crop type
  • the threshold for GM presence in relation to organic production
  • guidance on the possible establishment of voluntary GM-free zones

Environment Minister Elliot Morley said he was keen to find “the best way forward” on the issue.

“We do not expect GM crops to be grown here commercially for some time, but we need to have clear co-existence arrangements in place beforehand.”

DEFRA aims to have the measures in place in 2005.

The department said it will organise the workshops, expected to take place over the summer and early autumn, and will shortly be inviting specific stakeholders to attend.

The second phase of the consultation process will start with a paper released in the autumn for comment by all stakeholders.

The paper will set out the relevant background and options for consideration, taking account of the workshop discussions in the first phase, said DEFRA.

More on the government‘s current position on GM crops can be found on the DEFRA website.