|Author (Person)||Frost, Laurence|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.8, No.20, 23.5.02, p8|
THE European Commission has rejected as 'preposterous' claims by environmental group Greenpeace that it had suppressed its own study on the costs of managing cross-contamination from genetically modified (GM) crops.
A spokesman for farm chief Franz Fischler said the commissioner had made public comments as early as February on the study, which shows that preventing contamination could increase costs for non-GM farmers by up to 40.
'It's a wholly preposterous claim and it's completely wrong,' Gregor Kreuzhuber said, adding the report was due to have been published 'within days' when it was leaked by Greenpeace last week.
The findings had been exaggerated, he said. 'It doesn't mean conventional farmers will go out of business if we use GM.'
But Greenpeace spokesman Lorenzo Consoli insisted the study by the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) had been 'kept secret for five months', precisely when new GM threshold levels were being set under a proposed seed directive.
'They were waiting for the right moment to release the study because they were highly embarrassed' said Consoli.
The report, delivered to the Commission on 11 January but only published yesterday (22 May), shows that widespread GM farming would make it difficult to keep contamination of non-GM foods down to 0.1 - the figure demanded by environmentalists. Even a limit ten times higher would increase costs for conventional and organic farmers by up to 10 for maize and 40 for oilseed rape.
'The real issue is that there are additional costs, and sometimes very high costs to conventional farmers,' said Consoli. 'It's clear that the Commission is afraid of the political implications.'
The European Commission has rejected claims by environmental group Greenpeace that it suppressed its own study on the costs of managing cross-contamination from genetically modified (GM) crops.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry|