16 November 2001

German ministers GM contamination policy to soften?

GERMAN farm minister Renate Kunast could be relaxing her zero-tolerance to GM contamination in German crops, following intense pressure from the countrys Plant Breeders Association.

The associations Tassilo Leoprechting says: "Our message is that pollen moves, so her stance that zero means zero is nonsense. We need a sensible limit."

Mrs Kunast is still wedded to the zero-tolerance policy in public, but in private she is admitting that a limit is more sensible, he says.

An example of the ministrys ignorance of GM issues was demonstrated earlier this year, adds Mr Leoprechting. Although claims that crops around Brandenberg were contamintaed proved unfounded, the ministry insisted they be destroyed on site, despite them being just two weeks from harvest.

"We wanted to remove the material to dispose of it properly, but they kept the crop in the field and now there are volunteers growing."