ORGANIC FARMING AND GENETICALLY MODIFIED
Organic production must take place on clearly
defined areas of land which are subject to rigorous inspection
and certification by approved Organic Sector Bodies. Organic Sector
Bodies are licensed by the United Kingdom Register of Organic
Food Standards (UKROFS) which is the UK Certifying Authority under
EU Council Regulation (EEC No. 2092/91, as amended). Inspection
and certification may also be undertaken directly by UKROFS.
The purpose of inspection and certification
procedures is to ensure compliance with organic standards.
In the UK standards for the production of organic
crops must comply with EU Council Regulation (EEC No. 2092/91)
and with UKROFS standards for Organic Food Production. Approved
Organic Sector Bodies may also set additional and/or more rigorous
standards. Procedures registered with the Soil Association and
licensed to use its organic certification symbol must comply with
the Standards for Organic Food and Farming 1987 (as amended).
Council Regulation (EEC No. 2092/91) is currently
being amended to include reference to genetically modified organisms
in crop production. This is being undertaken in tandem with the
process of including standards for organic livestock production
within the EU Regulations. The latest position is set out in the
Presidency Draft Working Papers SN 1565/98 (Articles) and SN 1248/98
(the Annex) as most recently amended by Addendum 8697/98. In drafting
amendments to the Regulation Council Working Group members have
regard to the view of the EU Commission that:
The Commission accepted amendments aiming for
a general prohibition of the use of genetically modified organisms
and products derived therefrom in the production and processing
of organic products.
In relation to the production, advertising and
labelling of organic crops and products this general prohibition
has been introduced by the following points in the latest Presidency
Draft of the supplementing Regulation (EEC No. 2092/91:
Whereas genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
and products derived therefrom are not compatible with the organic
production methods; whereas, in order to maintain consumer confidence
in organic production genetically modified organisms, parts thereof
and producers derived therefrom must not be used in products labelled
as from organic production.
Article 1(2) 2b 12
Genetically modified organism shall mean any
organism as defined in Article 2 of the Council Directive (EEC)
220/90 of 23 April 1990 on the deliberate release into the environment
of genetically modified organisms.
The labelling and advertising of a product specified
in Article 1(1)(b) may bear indications referring to organic methods
in the sales description of the product only where: (h) the product
does not contain genetically modified organisms and/or any products
derived from such organisms.
Products labelled or advertised in accordance
with paragraphs 1 or 3 may bear indications referring to conversion
to organic production methods, provided that:
(f) The product does not contain genetically
modified organisms and/or any products derived from such organisms.
Without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph
3 the labelling and advertising of a product as referred to in
Article 1(1)(b) may only bear indications referring to organic
production methods where:
(i) The product does not contain genetically
modified organisms and/or products derived from such organisms.
The organic production method implies that for
the purposes of products referred to in Article 1(1)(a) other
than seeds and vegetative propagating material:
(d) Genetically modified organisms and products
derived from such organisms must not be used.
The UKROFS board have determined that Genetically
Modified Organisms (GMOs) have no place in organic production
systems. (For a definition of GMOs in this context see Chapter
III, Section 10, Annex IA of UKROFS standards.)
In accordance with the principles of organic
production set out in section 1 of this Chapter, plants which
have been genetically modified must not be used in organic production.
1. Recombinant DNA techniques using vector systems
as previously covered by Council Recommendation 82/472/EEC;
2. Techniques involving the direct introduction
into an organism of heritable material prepared outside the organism
including micro-injection, macro injection and micro encapsulation;
3. Cell fusion (including protoplast fusion)
or hybridisation techniques where live cells with new combinations
of heritable genetic material are formed through the fusion of
two or more cells by means of methods that do not occur naturally.