EU court puts limits on modified honey
2.Court ruling on GM contamination blows hole in the myth of coexistence
NOTE: ECJ file available at http://curia.europa.eu/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=FR&Submit=Submit&numaff=C-442/09
EXTRACT: "Zero tolerance must mean just that: traces of GMOs, no matter how small, cannot be tolerated. The European Commission should revise its GM legislation to take account of the interests of consumers and food producers, and not the biotech industry." (item 2)
1.EU Court Puts Limits on Modified Honey
Associated Press, September 6 2011
BRUSSELS – Honey that contains traces of pollen from genetically modified crops needs special authorization before it can be sold, the European Union's top court said Tuesday, in a judgment that could have widespread consequences on the bloc's policy on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
The ruling from the European Court of Justice came after several Bavarian beekeepers demanded compensation from their government for honey and food supplements that contained traces of pollen from genetically modified maize.
The beekeepers had their hives close to fields where the Bavarian government was growing Monsanto's MON 810 maize for research purposes.
The EU has strict guidelines on authorizing and informing consumers about foods containing GMOs a policy that has caused problems for producers of genetically modified seeds such as U.S.-based Monsanto Co. that are used to much laxer rules in other parts of the world.
Environmental activists said Tuesday's ruling will force the 17-country European Union to strengthen the rules even further.
"This is a victory for beekeepers, consumers and the movement for GM-free agriculture in Europe," Mute Schimpf, a food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said in a statement. "This ruling rewrites the rule book and gives legal backing to stronger measures to prevent contamination from the likes of Monsanto."
2.ECJ ruling on GM contamination blows hole in the myth of coexistence
The Greens, 6 September 2011
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today issued a groundbreaking ruling in a case concerning the contamination of honey with pollen from genetically modified crops (1). The court ruled that honey contaminated by pollen from a GM maize variety (MON810) cannot be sold on the market, as this maize has not been specifically authorised in honey. The case concerns German beekeepers, whose honey was contaminated by pollen from GM maize during field trials of GM maize from Monsanto. The Greens welcomed the ruling, which directly challenges the abandonment of the policy of zero tolerance for GMOs that have not been authorised in the EU (2). Commenting on the ruling Green MEP José Bové said:
"This case is proof that coexistence is a fallacy and that GM cultivation does not leave a choice for GM-free products. Permitting the cultivation of GM crops clearly leads to the contamination of non-GM crops and other foodstuffs like honey. Beekeepers are powerless to prevent the contamination of their honey by GM pollen, as farmers are for their crops, and thus powerless to prevent the tainting of the foodstuffs they produce and the integrity of their product. The only sure way to prevent this is by precluding the cultivation of GMOs."
Green MEP Bart Staes added:
"The biotech lobby always talks of freedom of choice, the question is freedom for whom? This ruling clearly underlines the need for EU regulation that would protect farmers, food producers and consumers against the contamination of their products from GM cultivation. Zero tolerance must mean just that: traces of GMOs, no matter how small, cannot be tolerated (2). The European Commission should revise its GM legislation to take account of the interests of consumers and food producers, and not the biotech industry.
"Beekeepers in the EU need their honey to be as high quality as possible, so they have an economic interest that GMOs and other kinds of contamination do not end up as traces in their honey. Today's outcome could have far-reaching implications for the honey market, with EU countries importing honey from GM producing countries and two of the main EU honey-producing member states (Spain and Romania) having authorised the production of this GM maize. Clearly, EU beekeepers should not be held responsible for the negative implications of the contamination of their honey."
(1) ECJ file available at http://curia.europa.eu/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=FR&Submit=Submit&numaff=C-442/09
(2) Recently adopted EU legislation on animal feed permitted traces of unapproved GMOs despite the absence of a full safety review.