Germany's comments on Commission's study of co-existence of GM with conventional and organic crops

June 25, 2002

Brussels, 24 June 2002

Commission study on scenarios for co-existence of genetically modified, conventional and organic crops in European agriculture - Contribution from the German delegation. Note from General Secretariat to Delegations. Brussels, 19 June 2002 (20.06) (document 10199/02 ENV 348 AGRI 147). Full text

Delegations will find attached a note from the German delegation on the above topic, which will be discussed at the Environment Council meeting on 25 June 2002 under "Other business".

Last month, the EU Joint Research Centre presented the results of a study on scenarios for co-existence of genetically modified, conventional and organic crops in European agriculture.

On the basis of different hypothetical scenarios, the study investigated how an increase in the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) plants in the EU would affect conventional agriculture and organic farming as regards the adventitious or technically unavoidable presence of traces of GMOs.

The study also considers to what extent the threshold values of 0,1% to 1% now being debated permit the co-existence of genetically modified, conventional and organic crops in European agriculture.

The study concludes that increasing the share of GM plants grown in the EU to 10% or 50%, as opposed to the current share of GMOs in the EU which is statistically negligible, would lead to a rising proportion of traces of GMOs in conventional and organic seeds. The threshold values suggested by the European Commission of 0,3 to 0,7% for GMO traces in seeds could only be achieved at increased cost to agriculture. If the present very low threshold value ("detection limit") in organic farming was strictly applied, co-existence of GMO and organic farming in a region would hardly be possible.

This has caused organic farmers considerable concern: organic farms could suffer lasting harm as their produce must, under current legislation, be free of genetically engineered constituents.

Consumers also expect this of these products. The same applies for conventional farms which do not wish to employ genetic engineering techniques.

The Commission is requested to state what conclusions it draws from this study, especially with regard to current plans for threshold values for GMO traces in seeds and in products.

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