Senior EU judge seeks to tighten GM laws

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 10th February 2011

A senior EU judge has said all food sold in the EU contaminated with even the slightest trace of genetically modified material must have a special regulatory approval.

In a formal opinion on a case involving honey contaminated with pollen from Monsanto’s EU-approved MON 810 maize, ECJ advocate general Yves Bot has said “the unintentional presence…even of a minute quantity of pollen…means that such honey must be the subject of an authorisation”.

This means that contaminated food products, usually legal without GM contamination, would have to go through the tough EU GM product authorisation process. EU regulation 1829/2003 allows products with up to 0.9% accidental contamination not to be labelled as GM – but Bot said this did not exempt them from special GM food market approvals.

Advocate general opinions are adopted by the ECJ in most cases, and are precedents across the EU. This ruling would not only affect food grown in the EU, but also potentially imported foodstuffs and products.

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