*EU delays vote on GM seed rules
*Industry protests Commission U-turns on Seeds Directive
EU: EU delays vote on GM seed rules
28 Oct 2003
The European Union has delayed until next spring a vote on the limits on the amount of genetically modified organisms allowed in cereal and vegetable seeds. The European Commission had proposed labelling seeds that contained between 0.3% and 0.7% GM material, depending on the crop. The biotech industry complained that the low level was too restrictive, while environmental campaign groups felt the level was too generous, reported Dow Jones International News.
Greenpeace is calling for a threshold of 0.1% GMOs, while US biotech companies such as Monsanto want a threshold higher than 0.7%. The difference of opinion has led to the decision to delay the vote while limits are agreed.
Commission U-turns on Seeds Directive
Press Statement from EuropaBio (industry lobby group)
Brussels, 24 October 2003:
The Commission has suddenly decided to cancel a vote foreseen next Monday on proposals to provide a harmonised approach in the European Union on the question of seed purity thresholds for trace amounts of approved GMOs in non-GM seed.
EuropaBio strongly protests this decision which will further delay the implementation of much needed rules in this area. There have already been several years of inaction on this issue, despite the Commission's duty to ensure fair and open markets for approved products in the European Union.
For years, industry has insisted that an effective Internal Market requires clear EU-wide rules on seed thresholds. Further delays will have serious repercussions for agriculture across the EU. This regrettable decision makes a mockery of the internal market and exposes the agriculture industry and individual farmers to unacceptable legal uncertainty. All of the products in question have been fully approved for cultivation following assessments by the EU and all Member States for safety to human health and the environment.
Multiple and conflicting rules, standards and procedures in different Member States and, indeed, among different regions in some countries, are untenable for the seed industry, farmers and the associated agriculture industries. This is a matter of urgency, and EuropaBio urges the Commission to immediately address this important problem.
For further information, contact;
Adeline Farrelly, Tel: 02 735 0313 Mobile: 0475 93 17 24
e-mail: [email protected]
Notes to Editors
(1) EuropaBio represents 35 corporate members directly and, through its 23 member associations, over 1200 SMEs. All are involved in research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products. EuropaBio, the voice of European bioindustries, aims to be a promoting force for biotechnology and to present its proposals to industry, politicians, regulators, NGOs, and the public at large.
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