EXCLUSIVE – As a member of ‘ItaliaEuropa-liberi da ogm’, an Italian coalition to free Europe of GMOs, Slow Food has decided to make its presence felt in the European Parliament.
Last week, president Carlo Petrini travelled to Brussels to speak to Euro-MPs about the issues surrounding the use of GMOs in European agriculture. During the visit, a Slow Food delegation presented the following memorandum.
• It is necessary to pledge full recognition of the principle of territorial sovereignty within the ambit of the application of criteria of coexistence by regions that decide to make their territories GMO-free. The very existence of national guidelines for coexistence would de facto delegitimize all those who have already declared their territories ‘GMO-free’.
• It is necessary to clarify and consequently regulate the principle that coexistence is not a rule applicable at business level but at territorial-administrative level. The very characteristics of GM crops force regional institutions to make a strategic choice, to which individual producers’ choices are subordinate. This is a situation in which individual freedom is subordinated to collective choices: anyone wishing to cultivate GM crops cannot have a production base in areas declared GMO-free.
• It is necessary to rediscuss the 0.9% accidental contamination threshold for seeds, including seeds in conventional agriculture. It is also necessary to recognize the irreconcilability of the application of rules of coexistence and any contamination threshold for seeds. Seed purity is a necessary requisite for the management of organic and quality crop cultivation.
• It is necessary to review the discipline for organic agriculture, introducing the principle of non-contamination of certified products, irrespective of any threshold. The 0.9% threshold is unacceptable, and it is necessary to reinstate zero tolerance, i.e. the ‘measurable minimum’.
• It is necessary to review the food labelling and animal feed disciplines in order to provide consumers with full and correct information as to the fact that a foodstuff or feed contains no traces of GMOs, irrespective of any tolerance threshold.
It is necessary to extend the labelling discipline to foodstuffs or feeds produced using GMOs but not containing GMOs, in particular products made at the termination of the breeding cycle of animals raised on GM feed (milk, meat etc).
Carlo Petrini urged the Euro-MPs who have founded ‘Les Goûts d’Europe’, the new Slow Food European Parliament convivium (see ‘Keeping a Good, Clean, Fair House’, posted in this section on April 8), to promote these concepts and counter the initiatives of pro-GMO lobbies.