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GMO Cotton to be Destroyed

(5 July - Cropchoice News) -- The row over GMO-contaminated seed in Europe has spread to cotton. Greek officials have announced partial results from GMO tests conducted on this year's Greek cotton crop following accusations of biotech contamination from activists. With results available on most of the more than 3100 samples tested, 69 are positive for GMOs so far.

This means farmers planted, unknowingly, about 2.75% of cotton fields in Greece with GMO contaminated seed. Activists are demanding Greek officials uphold European law and turn under the affected fields. According to Greenpeace Greece's director, "Now that we have official proof, we demand immediate destruction and compensation for farmers."

Europe does not allow planting of GMO cotton, so Greek officials will have to go along with activist demands and destroy some of the fields. The Greek agriculture minister told press "After the results of more detailed tests...any cotton found to be genetically engineered will be uprooted." The government has also confirmed that affected farmers will be "completely" compensated.

Cotton is important in Greece. which produces just short of 400,000 metric tons of cotton fibre (excluding seeds & oil) a year - equivalent just over 10% of US production. There is no official word yet on what seed companies sold the contaminated varieties. According to Greek officials they hope the process of testing and identifying GMO contaminated fields will be concluded in two weeks.

SOURCE: Reuters, Greenpeace-Greece, FAO