European Court Ruling On GM Blows Pro GM Argument Out The Park

06 September 2011
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has reacted with unease to today's ruling from the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg that highlights still further the unsustainable legal guddle over GM cultivation in the EU, and called for the European Commission to withdraw current proposals.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today issued a groundbreaking ruling in a case concerning the contamination of honey with pollen from genetically modified crops. The court ruled that honey contaminated by pollen from a GM maize variety (MON810) cannot be sold on the market, as this maize (while authorised for cultivation itself) has not been specifically authorised in honey. The case concerns German beekeepers whose honey was contaminated by pollen from GM maize during field trials of GM maize by Monsanto. Like all legal judgements, the principles are applicable to any analogous situation, for example, animal feed and meat production.

While welcoming the ruling, Alyn highlighted that it flatly contradicts the recent Commission proposals which abandoned of the policy of zero tolerance for GMOs that have not been authorised in the EU in imported animal feed.

Alyn commented:

"This case is proof that coexistence is a fallacy and that within a short time, GM cultivation will not leave a choice for GM-free products. Permitting the cultivation of GM crops clearly leads to the contamination of non-GM crops. Should GM crops be authorised, Scotland's and Europe's beekeepers are powerless to prevent the contamination of their honey by GM pollen, as farmers are for their crops, and thus powerless to prevent the tainting of the foodstuffs they produce and the integrity of their product. The only sure way to prevent this is by precluding the cultivation of GMOs.

"The biotech lobby always talks about freedom of choice, but today's ruling makes clear that the choice of one member state to allow cultivation will soon force their choice on the rest of us. This ruling clearly underlines the need for EU regulation that would protect farmers, food producers and consumers against the contamination of their products from GM cultivation. Zero tolerance must mean just that: traces of GMOs, no matter how small, cannot be tolerated. The European Commission should revise its GM legislation to take account of the interests of consumers and food producers, and not the biotech industry.

"Beekeepers in the EU need their honey to be as high quality as possible, so they have an economic interest in GMOs and other kinds of contamination not ending up as traces in their honey. Today's outcome could have far-reaching implications for the honey market, with EU countries importing honey from GM producing countries and two of the main EU honey-producing member states (Spain and Romania) having authorised the production of this GM maize. Clearly, EU beekeepers should not be held responsible for the negative implications of the contamination of their honey."