Farm Ireland

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Organic talks drag on as Germany bans GM crops

Sarah Collins

EU negotiators are making tedious progress on new organics rules, as Germany officially banned the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops.

Slovakia, which is leading the negotiations on the draft organics law, hopes to reach an agreement before its six-month EU presidency ends in December.

While negotiators have made progress on rules for plants, aquaculture, yeast, wine, livestock, transport, packaging and labelling, they are quibbling over technical requirements for greenhouses, product databases and opt-outs from EU seed rules.

The talks have dragged on for more than two years, with the most controversial issue - permissible thresholds for pesticide residues in organic products - yet to be tackled.

The news comes the week the New York Times published research showing the use of GM crops has not led to higher yields or reduced pesticide use on American farms.

A total of 19 EU countries - including Germany and Ireland - have indicated they want to ban the growing of GM crops on all or part of their territories, under new rules introduced last year.

GM crops can still be bought and sold in the EU, and around 60 are approved for use within the bloc.

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