Organic maize contaminated from 35 kilometres away
In Deux-SÃ¨vres, organic maize is contaminated from 35 kilometres away
Le Monde, 12 May 2008 http://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/2008/05/12/dans-les-deux-sevres-du-ma
Farmers specializing in the cultivation of organic maize, Julien Veillat and his father Christian, whose farm is located in Villiers-en-Plaine in Deux-Sevres, have filed a complaint with the local gendarmerie. Their produce has been contaminated with genes from transgenic maize, although the closest plots of GM maize are officially over 35 kilometres distant from their fields...
GMOs did not really worry the two farmers until a routine analysis, conducted by the Regional Cooperative of Organic Agriculture (Corab), revealed the contamination of their corn by the release of transgenic maize in the environment.
This case has brought a full parliamentary review of the GMO Act. The Socialist MP Deux-Sevres, Delphine Batho, also referred it to the tribunal of the National Assembly in order to denounce the risks of transgenic plants and the lack of safeguards surrounding their cultivation.
The Poitou-Charentes region, headed by [the Socilaist leader] SégolÃ¨ne Royal, has always shown itself hostile to GM crops being grown in open fields and supports the complaint of the two farmers. They have asked the State for full compensation for the damage they feel they have suffered. In the absence of a reply, they plan to take legal action. The Corab and Poitou-Charentes region have announced their intention
of bringing a civil suit.
Julien and Christian Veillat may see their maize downgraded: due to the GM contamination there's no possibility of its benefiting
from the organic label. And at present, no insurance company is willing to insure against the risk of contamination by GMOs.
The two farmers want their right to compensation to be recognized and want their case to make the farming world aware of the dangers presented by the cultivation of GMOs in open fields. To defend their interests, they have chosen a specialist team of lawyers: the firm Huglo-Lepage, owned by the former environment minister Corinne Lepage.
Serge Morin, Vice-President (Greens) of Poitou-Charentes, reminded people that Madame Royal wanted "the state to review its procedures, GM crops not to be grown in open fields, compensation for farmers who suffered contamination -- and that the damage likely to affect the reputation of certain agricultural products [due to GM contamination] be taken into consideration -- like Echiré butter, which is known globally, the region where it is produced being located in the territory of this commune."