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Purely GMO-free seed for GMO-free food production

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Cases of contamination in imported seed have just become public in Germany. This again stresses the need to apply strictest purity rules regarding the possible presence of GMO in seed. Farmers rely on GMO-free seed and threfore need to be sure that the seed they buy as non-GMO-seed is truly GMO-free and no bluff package. To contribute to the ongoing discussion, the IFOAM EU Group has launched a study on “Economic impacts of labelling thresholds for the adventitious presence of genetically engineered organisms in conventional and organic seed” in the European Parliament  under the patronage of the French MEP and Vice-Chair of Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Corinne Lepage (ALDE Group).

“Measures to keep GMO out of our food are relatively easier to apply in seed production - due to the smaller production areas involved - than in the production of feed and food crops”, explains Christoph Then, Director of Testbiotech and author of the study. “GMO-free seed is crucial to enable the food chain to maintain the production of GMO-free food and feed; moreover it is necessary to fulfil legal risk management requirements: withdrawals of GMOs that might become necessary in cases of new scientific findings would become almost impossible if a steady level of contamination would be accepted in seed.” According to Matthias Stolze, Head of Group “Socioeconomy” in FibL Switzerland and co-author of the study, “already today food companies face tremendous costs for analyses and prevention measures to keep their production free from GMOs. If GMO contamination in seed up to a percentage of 0.3 or even more would be accepted without any labelling requirements, these costs would further rise. In some cases and in some areas GMO free food production would even become impossible. A labelling threshold for unintended occurrences of GMO in seed must be set at the detection limit to ensure farmers best quality seed for GMO-free production.”

Keeping GMO out of the whole food chain is a necessary undertaking to react to consumers’ demand for GMO-free food. As seed is a bottleneck for food production, costs to avoid contamination in the food chain can only be kept under control if seed stays GMO-free. Breeders and seed producers need a political framework that enables them to produce GMO-free seed – protected GMO-free seed production zones would be an option.




Genetic Engineering

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