European Commission allows genetic contamination of organic farming
Friends of the Earth Europe
Thursday, December 22nd
For immediate release
December 22nd, Brussels The European Commission has authorised genetic contamination in organic agriculture, clearly putting the biotech industry before organic farmers and consumers.
In a draft Regulation on Organic Production, adopted by the Commission yesterday, products containing up to 0.9% GMOs (genetically modified organisms) can be labelled as organic . This is a step backwards compared to existing EU legislation. Independent legal advice obtained by Friends of the Earth and other NGOs concludes that the Organic Regulation currently in force does not allow an organic product to contain GMOs or GM derivatives in any quantity .
The organic sector in the EU must be given the means to develop and ensure its economic growth without any risk of genetic contamination. The European Commission continues to refuse to consider strict EU-wide legislation on the coexistence of genetically modified crops with conventional and organic farming.
The Commission is also refusing to take environmental and health issues into account when considering coexistence, insisting that it is a purely economic concern.
Independent legal advice has found that the Commission's Recommendations on coexistence  are "fundamentally flawed" and that Member States must have regard to the aims of protection of human health and the environment .
Helen Holder, GMO campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe, said:
"Genetic contamination of organic food is completely unacceptable to consumers throughout the EU. The European Commission should be protecting organic farmers and consumers with laws that prevent organic farming from being contaminated by genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If the biotech industry can't prevent contamination, then GMOs shouldn't be grown in the EU."
Helen Holder: +324 74 857 638 or +322 542 01 82
 Commission press release:
The draft Regulation will be sent to the EU Council in January 2006
 Advice of Paul Lasok in relation to Coexistence, Traceability and Labelling, March 2005, para. 52
 2003/556/ED dated 23 July 2003, Commission Recommendation on guidelines for the development of national strategies and best practices to ensure the coexistence of genetically modified crops with conventional and organic farming.
 Advice of Paul Lasok in relation to Coexistence, Traceability and Labelling, March 2005, para. 55