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German Nature Agency Rejects EU Line on GM

News: May, 2002
The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (deutsche Bundesamt für Naturschutz ) has rejected the suggestion of the European Union commission for a guideline, to regulate the unintentional contamination of conventionally produced seeds with genetically engineered seeds. In opinion of the BfN no seed pollution should be tolerated, in order to prevent the spreading of foreign genes in nature. The accepted limit of impurities should be the detection limit of 0.1%, it argues. "The risk potential of transgenic plants on the total ecological system is not yet sufficiently assessable", said BfN president Dr. Hartmut Vogtmann to a hearing of the European Union Commission. In opinion of the BfN it is still unclear, how transgenes and promoters will behave and their effects on soil organisms, plant and animals on a long-term basis. "The genetic regulation mechanisms are so far only insufficiently investigated. This makes it more difficult to predict the behaviour of transgenic organisms. Therefore the application of the precautionary principle is essential for this technology. This must apply also to the regulations for seed contamination. The Federal Office for nature protection does not consider the limit values suggested by the commission therefore sufficient."