EU rules death knell for GM crops

3 August 2001

EU rules ‘death knell for GM crops’

By FWi staff

NEW Brussels rules to control seed purity could make it impractical to grow genetically modified crops, claim environmental campaigners.

Proposals to amend directives controlling seed purity will require big increases in separation distances between non-GM seed crops and GM crops.

For basic oilseed rape seed production the proposed separation distance is 5km from GM crops, says Friends of the Earth.

This compares with a buffer zone of just 200m for GM oilseed rape farm-scale trials taking place this winter.

Changes to the directives will make it unfeasible for farmers to grow the two side-by-side, and finish off commercial GM production before it can start, says FoE.

FoE GM campaigner Carol Kearney said: “These new proposals should sound the death knell for GM farming in the UK.

“They will mean a choice between a GM-free future for farming, or GM-only seed and food. The seed industry knows what UK consumers want and expect.

“A GM-free future is the only real option they face.”

Under the proposals put forward last week contamination of non-GM products by up to one per cent will still be permitted.

Environmental campaigners and consumer groups argue that this figure is too high, and say many supermarkets already operate at a much lower threshold.

Imported seed will be required to have zero contamination from genetic modifications which are not approved in the EU.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was consulting on the proposals.

He stressed that commercial planting of GM crops could not be considered in any case until the farm-scale trials were completed in 2003.


CLICK HERE to receive FWis FREE new daily email newsletter to keep up-to-date with the latest news of foot-and-mouth and other farming-related stories

See more