EU Action Plan on organic food and farming: GMO co-existence means no existence for organics

22 January 2004

Friends of the Earth Europe have challenged the European Commission to do more to protect organic farming from the contamination of genetically modified (GM) crops. Today (Thursday 22 January), the Commission is holding a one-day Hearing on the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Organic Food and Farming (1). 

Friends of the Earth Europe and GLOBAL 2000 (FoE Austria) strongly support the implementation of the EU Action Plan. However, serious questions remain on how to protect high organic standards from contamination from neighbouring GM crops. The co-existence issue should be fully addressed in the Action Plan. 

Iris Strutzmann, agriculture campaigner, GLOBAL 2000 (FoE Austria) said: "Organic farming is the best form of sustainable agriculture we have. Allowing that to be damaged by contamination from unwanted GM crops is irresponsible and foolish. Co-existence between the two is virtually impossible. The Commission should stand up for the environment and the consumer and prevent the contamination of organic foods.

To protect organic farming Friends of the Earth is calling for the EU to: 
- stop any release of GM crops until the question of its co-existence with GM-free agriculture is solved 
- set a zero GM contamination limit for seeds (0,1% statistically), as already introduced in Austria 

For a strong Action Plan on Organic Farming, Friends of the Earth is calling for:
- a clear strategy to ensure synergies of national Action Plans 
- an information campaign to stress the positive impacts of organic food and farming on  environment and health 
- increased research, education and training for organic farming 
- use the opportunities existing within the new, reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to finance organic farming. 


(1) More information about the hearing at 

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