EuroCommerce calls for strict purity criteria for GM contamination of seeds

October 23, 2003

Brussels, 22 Oct 2003

The EU Commission and the Member States are currently discussing within the Standing Committee on Seeds the proposal for a Directive regarding the adventitious presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in seeds. This Directive would set up thresholds for the contamination of conventional seed lots by authorised GM varieties.

EuroCommerce calls for strict purity criteria for GM contamination of seeds

The EU Commission and the Member States are currently discussing within the Standing Committee on Seeds the proposal for a Directive regarding the adventitious presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in seeds. This Directive would set up thresholds for the contamination of conventional seed lots by authorised GM varieties.

EuroCommerce, the European trade representation of the Retail, Wholesale and International Trade, is concerned that the proposed thresholds for seed lots will lead to growing contamination of the whole of the food and feed supply chain and therefore will considerably reduce the freedom of choice available to consumers between GM and non-GM food.

In association with the lifting of the current moratorium, the proposed levels of seed contamination will open the door to a wide dissemination of GMOs in environment. It will become impossible to guarantee the recently adopted threshold of 0.9% for the adventitious presence of GMOs in food and feed. It will also oblige operators along the whole of the food supply chain to carry out costly and cumbersome testing for the presence of GMOs, while it would be much simpler to ensure the absence of GMOs at the starting point of the food and feed chain.

EuroCommerce recognises that it is unrealistic to expect that absolutely no adventitious contamination will occur. Nevertheless, in order to prevent the unintended presence of GMOs in other products, we support the setting up of appropriate segregation/Identity Preserved systems.

Furthermore, these should be backed up by clear and accurate rules on the co-existence of conventional and GM crops at EU level. Such rules are a prerequisite to limit the adventitious contamination by GMOs and to be effective, they must be strictly based on EU guidelines.

EuroCommerce therefore urges the Commission and the Member States to adopt strict purity standards for GM contamination of seeds.

EuroCommerce

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