Green genetic engineering and organic Farming

All over the world organic agriculture is legally bound not to use genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In Europe neither regulation 2092/91 on organic agriculture nor the seed legislation contain provisions which enable to prescribe safety measures to prevent hybridisation between transgenic crops and organically grown plants.A thorough analysis of the new deliberate release directive 18/2001 reveals that this directive opens up the possibility to issue together with a market approval specific conditions of handling and use of a GMO. Crosspollination of an organic culture can be defined as a damage of property. The registration of ge-free zones and prescribed distances between fields are under discussion as safety measures to prevent such property damages. The analysis of the available data reveals a number of gaps in the empirical basis of safety distance provisions. Further research is urgently needed. However, as a pragmatic approach hints for reliable distance are given. Ge-free zones or closed farming regions are proposed for seed production.In Germany only civil law provides a private settlement of the different interests of organic farmers and conventional farmers using transgenic varieties. § 906 of the German civil code is the central norm of the private environmental law. It is a very complex system of refraining and compensation requirements. Therefore it is not of real help for a satisfying coexistence regime. A solution could be an effective self-organisation of the seed industry, which produces transgenic varieties and places them on the market. Another solution could be a regulation by public law. As elements of a public law solution are proposed: establishment of public registers of production sides, introduction of good practice of GMO handling, the obligation to instruct the customers on the seed package and special safety measures for seed production.

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