European court protects honey from GM contamination

6 September 2011

Victory for beekeepers and consumers, says Friends of the Earth Europe

Brussels/Luxembourg, September 6, 2011 – The European Court of Justice today upheld the rights of beekeepers and consumers to keep honey free from GM contamination.

Europe's highest court ruled that honey contaminated with genetically modified (GM) crops would need full safety approval and would have to be labelled as GM. The ruling opens the way for Europe's laws on GM crops to be strengthened [1].

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "This is a victory for beekeepers, consumers and the movement for GM-free agriculture in Europe. Honey should remain free of contamination from the biotech industry. This ruling re-writes the rule book and gives legal backing to stronger measures to prevent contamination from the likes of Monsanto".

"The European Court ruling confirms that existing laws that allow traces of unauthorised GM contamination are insufficient and need revising. The European Commission has once again shown that it has failed to put consumers and the environment before the interests of the biotech industry."



[1] The ECJ ruling was the result of a legal challenge from a German association of beekeepers who took the Bavarian government to court following the contamination of honey from a governmental field trial of Monsanto's maize MON 810 (

The case was forwarded to the European Court of Justice (C-442/09). The European Court of Justice was asked to rule whether honey containing GM-pollen is defined as a GM product and if any trace of a GMO in honey needs an authorisation as a GMO.