Re: Commission authorizes Danish GM compensation scheme (24/11/2005)

Thanks to Friends of the Earth's GM Campaigner Clare Oxborrow for these comments and pointers on the pros and cons of the Danish GM compensation scheme.

Clare also points out that there is an article explaining concerns about the Danish law is in FoE's Biotech mailout July 2004:

Clare Oxborrow:

"We welcome the fact that the Commission has approved measures to ensure that organic and conventional farmers will not have to foot the bill for any GMO contamination in Denmark. However, the new Danish law does not go far enough to prevent this contamination occurring in the first place. Friends of the Earth is calling for tough EU-wide laws to that truly protect our food, farming and environment from any GMO contamination. And biotech companies must be held strictly liable for any damage their products cause."

Positive parts of the Danish law

*The public register and the fact that farmers have to notify their neighbours of their intention to grow a GM crop

*Compensation fund to ensure that the costs of GM contamination do not fall on organic or non-GM producers, or the taxpayer.

*Fund covers economic damage even when good farming practice has been followed

Concerns over the Danish law

*Compensation Fund only covers economic damage, not damage to the environment

*Separation distances are too narrow. Routine contamination is likely to occur.

*Separation distances and compensation fund have been set up around the 0.9% labelling threshold. However, the 0.9% is supposed to cover accidental contamination, shouldn’t aim for it – will have to label if you know it’s there.

*0.9% supposed to be a buffer for the whole food chain – here it is spent at the field level and there is no margin of error further down the production chain.

*Only contamination from cross-pollination is covered. Admixture during transport, processing is not regulated.

*Damage has to be reported in the same year as the crop is grown.


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