Friday, April 15, 2011

Costs of GM crops

Real costs of GM crops concealed
By Friends of the Earth Europe
Press Release
April 15, 2011

Brussels - A study released today by the European Commission has been criticised for downplaying the costs of GMO contamination in the food sector.

Friends of the Earth Europe says the document, which assesses the economic impacts of growing genetically modified (GM) crops, is fundamentally flawed. Estimates of the potential price of GMO contamination cannot be based on current figures when GM crops cover less than 0.1% of Europe’s arable land, the group says.

Friends of the Earth Europe is warning that the real costs of segregating GM from conventional crops is far higher and could push up food prices.

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “The Commission’s analysis fails to account for the true environmental and economic costs of GM crops. With this report Commissioner John Dalli fails once more to protect the environment and the food sector against ongoing GM contamination. The biotech industry must be held accountable for damage caused by contamination – the costs must not be unfairly pushed onto farmers, consumers and taxpayers.”

Previous research by Friends of the Earth Europe has shown the hidden costs of GM crop cultivation that are being unfairly pushed onto the conventional and organic sectors – risking further GM-contamination and increased food prices.

In the Commission’s report key costs, such as those of segregation are not reflected. For maize the cost for harvesting could be more than 40 times higher, and the cost for drying could be up to 34% higher. The report reaffirms the assumption of European policy that GM-free food producers must pay for all measures to secure their GM-free status. Friends of the Earth believes that all costs to prevent GM-contamination must be covered by the polluters.

Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, added: “99.9 percent of Europe’s land remains GM-free, and opposition to genetically modified crops and foods continues to grow. Politicians must accept this and end further GM crop cultivation in Europe.”

Friends of the Earth Europe is calling for a moratorium on all GMO cultivation approvals until a socio-economic impact assessment is integrated into the EU approval system, alongside strict and compulsory anti-contamination measures in all European countries.

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