GM free in the Garden of Eden

Related tags Genetically modified organisms Agriculture Franz fischler

Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler has warned delegates at a
conference on organic farming that food which is completely free of
genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is a thing of the past,
reports CORDIS.

And when it comes to setting acceptable thresholds for the levels of GMOs in organic and conventional products, the Commissioner said that Europe must take guidance from scientists, rather than politicians.

'We have been banished from paradise. The idea of a zero per cent threshold was no doubt possible in the Garden of Eden, but not in the real world,'​ said Dr Fischler.

His views were echoed at the conference by a leading expert from the Danish government's institute of agricultural sciences. Birte Boelt, head of research within the institute's department of plant biology, said: 'Zero tolerance is not possible.'

Despite advocating isolation distances between GM, organic and conventional farms, as well as the careful cleaning of farm equipment, Dr Boelt warned: 'Even with the greatest care mistakes will happen.'

'The risk of GM contamination will grow over time,'​ she added.

Dr Fischler announced that the Commission intends to take steps to increase organic food consumption within the EU. Currently, around three per cent of all food consumed is produced organically, but he believes this figure could be as high as 15 per cent. The Commission hopes to produce an action plan on organic food in the coming months.

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