GM now organic

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Organic food can now contain almost 1 per cent genetically modified content, thanks to a new ruling by the EU.

EU ministers voted yesterday to allow a 0.9 per cent limit on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in organic food, whilst retaining the 'organic' label and without a requirement to inform consumers that GMOs are present. Levels below 0.9 per cent are deemed 'adventitious or technically unavoidable'.

The decision has angered environmental groups, who claim that European governments will simply take the 0.9 per cent level as an acceptable standard for GMO contamination, rather than keeping it as a 'buffer' against accidental contamination.

Clare Oxborrow, Friends of the Earth's GM Campaigner, described the situation as 'completely unacceptable':
'EU Ministers have put the interests of the biotech industry ahead of consumers who believe that organic food should be produced to strict environmental standards,' she said. 'Organic farmers will now find it increasingly difficult to protect their crops from GM.'

Friends of the Earth called for tough, new legislation to protect farmers from 'genetic pollution'.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist June 2007