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Organic foods can legally contain GM

Under pressure from The USA, the European governing body has decided to allow a huge amount of genetic modification to enter the organic food chain. Organic foods in Europe can be labeled “GM-free” even if they contain up to 0.9% genetically modified content, European agriculture ministers decided yesterday.

Europe’s agriculture ministers have agreed on a compulsory logo for organic food as new figures showed more and more farmers are switching to the production method in response to consumer demand. The logo will be applied to foods meeting common standards across the European Union from 2009. However, some producers say these standards have been set too low as they permit genetically modified material that accidentally enters the food chain. To be classed as organic, food must contain 95 per cent organic ingredients but can contain up to 0.9 per cent GMOs, to allow for cross-contamination from other crops.

Francis Blake, Soil Association Standards and Technical Director, is quoted, “They have shifted the responsibility and cost of compliance from the makers of biotech crops to organic producers.”

UK Conservative Food and Farming spokesman Peter Ainworth said, “The EU’s plans to allow nearly one per cent GM contamination to go unacknowledged are shocking”

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