E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


Sequel to EU's canola debate...
More Seed Contamination Controversy Brewing in Europe

(28 June - Cropchoice News) -- Activists in Europe are calling for the destruction, and farmer compensation, in two more cases of GMO contamination of conventional seed varieties. In southern France, 7200 acres planted with a Golden Harvest company hybrid are being tested. In Greece the governmment is delaying action on GM-contaminated cotton that activists are calling to be turned under.

In both cases the levels of seed impurity (or 'leakage') are reportedly low; but the economic stakes for farmers are high if markets refuse to buy crops that are GMO-contaminated. A similar economic logic was important in European countries decision last month to destroy contaminated canola. In the UK and France canola farmers will recieve compensation for the seed company errors.

The French government's position on the biotech-contaminated corn has not been defined. According to officials, the Golden Harvest hybrid is contaminated with 3 biotech genes. One is approved for EU importation, one is not, and one is of an "unidentified origin". Golden Harvest hasn't offered any detailed explanation for the contamination in its seed production systems; but maintains that the levels are so low that they do not require government action.

Deciding on the fate of the contaminated corn will be difficult for the French government, since the economic stakes are greater than those in the recent Advanta canola problem, in which the government ordered 1400 acres of canola destroyed.

While pressure mounts from other European countries, Greek officials are waiting for test results - due July 3rd - on biotech contaminated cotton seed imported from the US. Activists have appealed directly to the Greek Prime Minister for action and predict dire econmic consequences for Greek cotton farmers if the goverment does not act.

Greece produces just short of 400,000 metric tons of cotton fibre (excluding seeds & oil) a year - equivalent just over 10% of US production. According to activists, Greece has lax rules on cotton seed imports that don't comply with EU standards that prohibit imports of GM seed.

SOURCE: Reuters, FAO