The European Commission is bowing to pressure from large biotech companies to minimise the level of health and safety checks on imports of genetically modified (GM) crops, Friends of the Earth Europe has learned.
Letters obtained by Friends of the Earth Europe suggest the European Commission has asked the European Food Safety Authority to explore ways to bypass food safety checks in the case of GMO-contaminated imports – pressured by negotiations around the EU-US trade deal.
Mute Schimpf, Friends of the Earth Europe food campaigner said: "The Commission is working behind closed doors to undermine rules that guarantee Europe's food is GM-free. They're bowing to pressure from big biotech companies who want to bring GM-crops through the backdoor as part of the EU-US trade deal."
Currently, food imports that contain traces of unauthorised GM-crops cannot be imported into the European Union. Bypassing elements of this 'zero-tolerance' law would mean food and feed could contain up to 0.9% of unauthorised GM-crops, with no legally required labelling.
Mute Schimpf continued: "Undermining current food safety laws would mean the food on our plates could be contaminated with GMOs and we'd never know. It would have severe consequences for the food sector – low-level contamination could not be traced and products could never be guaranteed GM-free."
The European Commission has repeatedly stated that Europe's food safety laws will not be impacted by a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but these letters demonstrate the threat to democratically agreed laws posed by the negotiations.