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New GM proposals could open Europe's doors to risky unauthorised crops

04 November 2010
by foeeurope -- last modified 04 November 2010

Leaked European Commission documents obtained by Friends of the Earth Europe reveal new proposals that would open Europe’s doors to the import of unauthorised genetically modified (GM) feed. The proposed change in EU policy is a direct response to industry pressure to weaken Europe’s safety laws.


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The documents reveal that the European Commission has provided to EU member states a new proposal to change legislation on GM foods and feeds. The proposal, which will be discussed in a meeting of member states on 15th November, weakens the EU's zero tolerance policy by allowing traces of non-approved GM crops in imports coming into Europe (with a threshold of 0.1 percent). Europe would effectively open its borders for GM crops which are not authorised or assessed for their safety in any country of the world.

Mute Schimpf food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The European Commission is bowing to the scaremongering tactics of the biotech industry, and as a result, opening Europe's markets to unauthorised GM food and feed./Europe's laws on genetically modified foods are there for a reason – to protect the public and the environment."

The right of the public to say no to GM foods and feeds must be respected. Member states should reject this proposal and maintain Europe's position on zero tolerance."

In parallel, China recently rejected a shipment contaminated with illegal GM maize at its border.

The biotech industry claims that the zero-tolerance policy could bring about a crisis in the feed sector, and farmers might have to slaughter animals rather than let them starve. This is based upon the false argument that international trade is severely disrupted when shipments of feed containing unauthorised GM feed are rejected. But, in 2010 no shipment from any feed importing country (US, Argentina or Brazil) was rejected at any European harbour.

Friends of the Earth Europe is campaigning for the EU to become less dependent on animal feeds grown outside of the EU. The growing of soy in Latin America to supply factory farms in Europe is a major contributor of deforestation, social conflict and increase in intensive farming. Much of the soy is GM.

Friends of the Earth Europe campaigns for sustainable and just societies and for the protection of the environment, unites more than 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups and is part of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International.

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