Consumers’ views ignored, claims Soil Association

The Soil Association has accused EU farm commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel of ignoring the views of European consumers and seeking to drive the organic sector towards commodity production.

In a letter to Mrs Fischer Boel, Soil Association director Patrick Holden hits out at the commission’s proposal to allow up to 0.9% contamination with GM material before a product loses its organic status.

“That would risk nearly one in a hundred mouthfuls of organic food being GM,” he said.

It would be in line with the wishes of the US government and biotech companies, but against the demands of European consumers.

Last month Mrs Fischer Boel told EU farm ministers that 0.9% contamination was realistic, given the presence of GM material already in the food chain.

But the Soil Association points out that supermarkets and the food industry are already working at 0.1%.

“A contamination rate of 0.9% maybe what the commission wants, but it’s not the reality now,” said policy director Peter Melchett.