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[SANET-MG] German Parliament demands GM labelling at detection level
The article below is a rational move by the German parliament. EU
proposed labeling be required for seed at the 0.9% level or above of
GM DNA, the German proposal for labeling of seeds when GM pollution is
found at the lowest detection limit. The level was not biologically
realistic, it failed to take into account the rapid amplification of GM
seeds in the presence of selection, furthermore, the figure was greatly
effected by endosperm content in the seed.
I think most US and Canadian seed would have to be labeled!
26. May 2004
German Parliament demands GM labelling at detection level
"Save Our Seeds" welcomes clear German position - sees "breakthrough" in
Berlin, 26.5.2004 Today the German Parliament demanded that the government
calls for labelling of all genetically modified plants in seeds at the
detection level and takes appropriate measures at the European level to
implement respective legislation. "Save our Seeds" welcomes the decision as
a political breakthrough.
"After Italy, Denmark, Austria and Luxembourg now the Communities largest
member state has taken a clear position to keep GMOs out of our seeds" said
SOS spokesman Benedikt Haerlin. "We are confident, that this will be a
signal to other member states such as France and the UK. So far only the
Netherlands and Ireland took a position in favour of high GM contamination
thresholds in seeds. Other governments are still reviewing their position.
The EU Commission is presently discussing the issue controversially. An
internal proposal of environment Commissioner Margot Wallström envisages
contamination levels between 0,3 and 0,5 percent to be accepted in
conventional and organic seeds without labelling. However, it is unclear
whether there will be a majority of Commissioners to support such an
approach during the last months of the Commissions term.
The Parliaments resolution, adopted with the majority of the governing
coalition calls upon the German government to "plead for seed purity at all
levels" and to ensure in the present discussion at the European level that
threshold are oriented at the detection level". It also demands strict
controls of seed contamination within Germany. "Thresholds above the
detection level would lead to an uncontrolled placing on the market of
genetically modified plants", the Parliament finds and also points out that
such thresholds would substantially increase the costs for farmers and seed
"This decision would not have come about without the continued campaigning
of hundreds of environmental, farmers and consumers organisations, trade
unions, scientists and churches as well as 200.000 European citizens who
have signed the "Save our Seeds" petition for pure seeds," said Haerlin.
"Save our Seeds" represents 350 organisations with over 25 million members
in all EU member states.
"We hope that this decision will also be well received by the European
Commissioners," said Haerlin, "who should not try to force contamination
thresholds upon European farmers and consumers during the last months of
their remaining term." Should pro GM hard-liners like Commissioner David
Byrne succeed to still adopt a Commission proposal for GM contamination
thresholds in seeds, such a proposal could only be overruled by a qualified
(2/3) majority of member states in the Council of Ministers.
Benedikt Haerlin, Save our Seeds", mobil +49 173 9997555,
The full text of the German Parliaments decision can be retrieved in German
only at http://dip.bundestag.de/btd/15/029/1502972.pdf
The EU Commissions internal draft directive is available at
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