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Save our Seeds

(May 16, 2002 – CropChoice news) – The Foundation on Future Farming spearheaded the "Save our Seeds" (http://www.saveourseeds.org initiative in Germany to protest a European Commission proposal allowing conventional seed to contain anywhere from 0.3 to 0.7 percent genetically modified material without having to be labeled as transgenic.

"Obviously this would be an open gate for widespread and uncontrolled GMO [Genetically Modified Organism] contamination all across Europe," said Benedikt Haerlin of the Foundation on Future Farming. "It will make the life of farmers, who want to produce without GMOs, extremely difficult and outcrossing to native relatives of rape seed or beet would be ubiquitous."

The Foundation, along with many organic farmers, retailers and environmental organizations prefer that conventional and organic seeds contain no foreign genes, which in the European Union means no transgenic presence above the 0.1 percent detection level.

The idea is for individuals and organizations in Europe to jump into the Save our Seeds inititiave by first signing the petition and then by pressing their respective national governments for policies on genetically modified organisms.

"The Commission’s proposal is by no means a done deal at this moment," Haerlin said. "At a hearing on May third, the head of the unit at DG Sanco in charge, announced that there will be a revised version probably in June or July. But EuropaBio and the European Seed Association are also lobbying for even higher thresholds. The major farmer organizations (Copa/Cogeca) are taking a cautious perspective, avoiding a concrete threshold level, but insisting that conventional and organic farming must be protected and farmers must not be burdened with the costs and measures to prevent contamination. Consumers and retailers organizations also took a quite critical position. Environment organizations took a univocally clear and strong position for no contamination."