The effective separation of from non-GM crops is a major concern for the commercialisation of GM crops © luis rock
Report: best practice for cultivation and coexistence of GM maize
Specific measures relating to storing and the application of isolation distances can help limit or avoid the co-mingling of genetically modified (GM) maize with conventional and organic maize, a report prepared by the European Coexistence Bureau (ECoB) concludes. The "Best Practice Document", published by the JRC Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), notes that storing seeds adequately and applying spatial isolation (separation distances, buffer zones and/or discard zones) are the best ways to limit or avoid co-mingling. Alternative practices based on temporal isolation (shifting flowering times of GM and non-GM fields) are possible in several EU countries with specific climatic conditions.
The "best practice" document, which essentially contains a set of non-binding practices that aim to assist Member States to develop and refine their national or regional approaches to co-existence, .covers the cultivation of GM maize up to the first point of sale. It deals with three types of productions: grain, whole plant and sweet maize. The ECoB analysed the potential sources of admixture and reached a set of consensually agreed, best agricultural management practices that will ensure coexistence while maintaining the economic and agronomic efficiency of the farm.
In 2006, the Council invited the Commission to further work on coexistence in order to identify best practices for technical segregation measures and to develop crop-specific guidelines for coexistence. The Commission created the ECoB in 2008. The Bureau consists of experts nominated by interested Member States (20 Member States currently participate) and a scientific secretariat provided by JRC-IPTS.
Work on the "best practice" document was carried out in close cooperation with stakeholders and the final outcome allows EU Member States the necessary flexibility to adapt the measures to their specific regional and local conditions.