EU to vote on new GMO contamination rules

7 February 2011

Brussels, February 7 - New proposals to weaken EU safety laws are unnecessary and legally flawed, says Friends of the Earth Europe today, on the eve of a vote on new rules that would allow animal feeds contaminated with non-authorised genetically modified crops (GMOs) to be sold in Europe.

European legislation currently forbids any contamination of animal feed with GMOs not approved in the EU. Following intense lobbying by the feed industry, the European Commission is proposing to allow crops to be fed to farm animals even if they are contaminated by GMOs that have not been passed as safe anywhere in the world. EU member states will vote on the proposal tomorrow (Tuesday March 8).

A legal opinion sought by Friends of the Earth concludes that the Commission's proposal is not legal, opening the way to possible legal challenges should it be passed. [1]

Friends of the Earth Europe food campaigner, Mute Schimpf, said: "Weakening the safety net for GMOs shows once again that the European Commission is prepared to put consumers and the environment at risk. Instead of allowing contaminated feeds into Europe, governments and the Commission should be forcing the feed industry to clean up its act. There is absolutely no reason to allow contaminated feeds or foods into the EU."

"Furthermore, member states will be voting on a proposal that is legally flawed and does not offer the food industry any legal certainty that contamination of imports of animal feed with non-authorised GMOs will not happen. Legal experts have told us that these new rules are open to legal challenge should they be passed. We appeal to member states not to weaken our GMO rules with this ill-conceived proposal."

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NOTES:

[1] Friends of the Earth sought a legal opinion from experienced lawyers, Achim Willand, which concluded that:
The way that the European Commission is attempting to change Europe's current laws governing GMOs would not be legal. The Commission does not have the right to introduce a GM contamination threshold by redefining testing and analysis methods in the feed control law (Regulation 882/2004). The intention of the proposal is to introduce a de-facto threshold for non-authorised GM contamination. Non-authorised GM may not sidestep the EU-authorisation process.

 

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