AGRI INFOCOPA COGECACrops:
Miguel GARCIA NAVARRO; Source: COPA COGECA;
Date sent 22-4-1998
INITIAL POSITION ON BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE USE OF
ORGANISMS (GMOS) IN AGRICULTURE WITHIN THE EU INITIAL
POSITION ON BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE USE OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED
ORGANISMS (GMOS) IN AGRICULTURE
WITHIN THE EU
New techniques acquired through biotechnology
which allow for production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
are undergoing rapid development on a worldwide scale. Farmers
and their co-operatives wish to open a constructive dialogue on
this subject with consumers and all other relevant parties. They
would in particular wish to discuss the implications of the use
of GMOs as regards health, ethic, environmental protection, methods
of agricultural production and commercial, economic and political
aspects. COPA and COGECA have to this end approved the principles
outlined below which will be taken into account when taking a
position on future developments in the field of biotechnology.
COPA and COGECA request that a procedure for consulting farmers
and their co-operatives be set up.
1. The European Union cannot isolate itself
politically, economically and commercially from the developments
in the field of biotechnology. It must consequently reinforce
its policy in terms of research and development as well as authorisation
and post-release monitoring in order to remain at the forefront
of these developments.
2. The use of GMOs can present advantages for
society, but it can also pose risks. Ensuring transparency and
the supply of correct and complete information for all those working
in the sector from farmers to consumers by means of an appropriate
labelling system which may be monitored are indispensable if they
are to make well-informed decisions. To this end, a global authorisation,
labelling and control system is required both for Community products
and imported products so as to ensure that any problems which
may arise are identified and resolved.
3. To ensure safety and the confidence of consumers
as well as farmers, the European Union must set up an independent
scientific body responsible for the following matters relating
the application of a transparent
and reliable procedure for assessment of all possible risks, for
authorising placing on the EU market and for monitoring after
contributing to the development of
an international reference framework.
4. For COPA and COGECA, authorisation of placing
GMOs on the European Union market must be based on the comprehensive
scientific assessment of experimental data over a sufficiently
long period so as to provide the general public with maximum security
for human and animal health as well as environmental protection.
Authorisation may be granted only on condition that constant post-release
monitoring is carried out, in particular, with regard to health
and environmental protection. Such an assessment procedure must
also make it possible to ensure that products authorised in other
regions of the world present the same guarantees.
5. The production, marketing, processing and
import of GMOs may only be authorised within the European Union
in accordance with the Community procedure outlined above. The
current risk of distortions of competition which has emerged as
a result of the recent authorisation of marketing and processing
GMOs from the United States within the European Union is unacceptable
and must be avoided in future.
1 This position has been based primarily on the present
situation within the arable sector. Back