Commission stalls again on seed GM norms

Continuing controversy forces delay in decision on EU-wide gene contamination thresholds

Responsibility for proposing EU norms on accidental contamination of conventional seeds by genetically modified (GM) material has been passed to the next European Commission, it was announced on Wednesday.

A directive was due to be adopted by commisioners proposing a 0.3% contamination ceiling in maize and oilseed rape, while postponing norms for sugar beet, fodder beet, potato and cotton.

But faced with internal pressure to raise thresholds to 0.5%, and on the other hand a strong environmentalist campaign for 0.1% (EED 04/05/04), Commission president Romano Prodi changed tack at the last minute. Further economic impact assessments were required before a decision could be taken, he said.

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