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Food Safety

Health - Regulatory Committees - Standing Committee on Agricultural, Horticultural and Forestry Seeds and Plants

Short report of the meeting held on 19 June 2000

Chairman: Mr. Obst

All Member States present.

Sole item of the Agenda: Exchange of views of findings of adventitious presence of GMO seed in non-GMO varieties

The Committee further discussed the suggestions for immediate action to prevent further introduction, and the spread, of in particular non EU authorized genetically modified plant material in the Community, as submitted in the "Discussion Document for the Standing Committee on Seeds and Propagating Material for Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry" presented by the Commission in the previous meeting held on 30 May 2000.

The Committee agreed to consider a plan for coordinated and harmonized immediate interim action in respect of GMO impurities in seed of conventional varieties. This plan should be implemented by the Member States and would be without prejudice to the projects of Community legislation currently under preparation in this respect.

The plan would be based on the following elements:

- The objective would be to determine the presence of GMO impurities in seeds of conventional varieties.

- It would apply in particular to seeds of crops grown in large-scale in whole or part of the Community and for which an adventitious contamination with GMO's is suspected; this will include a series of agricultural plant species, but possibly also some horticultural plant species.

- As a first step, the species concerned could be:

  • beet (Dir. 66/400/EEC)
  • maize (Dir. 66/402/EEC)
  • rapeseed (Dir. 69/208/EEC)
  • soya bean (Dir. 69/208/EEC)
  • cotton (Dir. 69/208/EEC)

- The plan would in principle cover seeds which have been produced in the Community or are imported from third countries; however, in a first phase, particular attention should be given to seeds produced in geographical areas that grow GMO's not covered by an EU authorization under part C of Directive 90/220/EEC, such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, USA and some European countries.

- Under the plan, the competent authorities of the MS would seek information on seed imports and other seed records (production, harvesting, processing, storage) from the seed marketing notifications under the Community seed legislation, from seed industry and, where possible, from customs authorities.

- The competent authorities would organize, with the participation of seed industry, appropriate sampling and testing for the presence of GMO impurities, in accordance with existing international standards and methods currently available in the respective MS.

- The Commission would organize work for the identification or standardization, to the extent possible, of appropriate reference standards and methods for subsequent usage in the MS.

- GMO impurities which are not covered by an EU authorization under part C of Directive 90/220/EEC should not be present in the seed lot or in the crops growing in fields sown with the seed; findings of insignificant traces may not necessarily require measures to affect the entire lot or crop.

- GMO impurities which are covered by an EU authorization under part C of Directive 90/220/EEC should not exceed a certain threshold, for consistency with labelling rules established for some commodities produced from seed; the threshold could be of 0.5 %.

This matter will be further discussed in the next meeting of the Standing Committee scheduled for mid July 2000, for approval of the plan for coordinated and harmonized immediate interim action. On this occasion, further details may be specified, the list of species referred to in the third indent above may be extended, and the remaining scrutiny reservations on the threshold mentioned in the last indent above will be examined.

N.B: The measures on which the Committee has given an opinion are subject to the appropriate procedure for final adoption by the Commission

Liste of participants

Standing Committee on Seeds and Propagating Material Date : 19 June 2000

Etat Membre

Ministère ou Organisme

Nombre de personnes

BE

Ministère Agriculture et des Classes Moyennes

1

DK

Plantedirektoratet

1

D

Ministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Forsten

1

EL

Ministry of Agriculture

2

E

Ministerio de Medio Ambiente

2

F

Ministère de l'agriculture et de la pêche sous direction de la foret + GNIS

3

IRL

Forest Service, Department of the Marine and Natural Resources

2

I

Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, Direzione Generale Risorse Forestali

1

L

Administration des Service Techniques de l'Agriculture

1

NL

Naktuinbouw

2

A

Forstliche Bundesversuchsanstald, Bundesamt und Forschungszentrum für Landwirtschaft

1

P

Ministerio da Agricultura - Direcção Geral de Protecção das Culturas

2

FIN

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

1

S

Swedish Board of Agriculture

2

UK

Forestry Commission

2

N

Ministry of Agriculture

1

COM

European Commission - SANCO

7

COM

Other General Directorates

3

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