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Seed Threshold Set

(7 June - Cropchoice News) -- One of the first thresholds for GMO contamination of seed has been set in Switzerland. Saying there will be "inevitable contamination" of seed lots, the Swiss Agriculture Ministry has ruled that, starting July 1st, seed imports containing less than 0.5% biotech material may be sold as GMO-free. Testing will be mandatory. Unlike other thresholds set in Europe on biotech content, the Swiss rules apply to seed, not food or feed.

The Swiss government - and companies like Pioneer Hi-Bred - claim it is impossible to keep GMOs out of conventional seed supplies. Swiss activists, however, have vowed to fight the new rule, saying it is too lax, will cause problems with cross-pollination and, in particular, may interfere with organic production.

Last week, Advanta agreed to pay compensation to British farmers who planted a conventional canola variety that was contaminated with Roundup Ready genes. The level of contamination varied according to seed lot; but in some cases was reportedly less than 0.5%.

SOURCE: Reuters, ENDS Daily