Saxony-Anhalt plans to file suit on GM crops law
29 March 2005, MAGDEBURG - The eastern German state of Saxony- Anhalt is preparing a constitutional challenge against the first federal law setting the rules on genetic engineering of food plants, a state government official said on Monday.
29 March 2005
MAGDEBURG - The eastern German state of Saxony- Anhalt is preparing a constitutional challenge against the first federal law setting the rules on genetic engineering of food plants, a state government official said on Monday.
A spokeswoman for state Economics Minister Horst Rehberger said the legal suit is expected to be filed in April to challenge the bio- engineering law which passed the German parliament in Berlin in November 2004.
She said that Rehberger regards the federal law as an obstacle to genetic engineering and violates farmers' rights to plant genetically-altered varieties which have already been approved.
The minister also believes the law violates European Union regulations which permit the planting of conventional and genetically-altered crops next to each other, the spokeswoman said.
According to the law passed by the German parliament, a key passage holds farmers completely liable for any genetic contamination which can arise from the cross-fertilisation between conventional and altered crops due to pollen carried by the wind.
According to a lobby group called InnoPlanta, German farmers this year will be planting much more genetically-altered maize, with some 50 farmers and institutions registering 1,000 hectares of land for cultivation. The maize was genetically altered to improve its resistance to the European corn borer insect.
Last year, in the first test in Germany involving larger fields, some 29 sites combining 300 hectares of land were cultivated with the genetically-engineered maize. Scientists concluded that bio- engineered maize and conventional maize cannot cross-fertilise, if the crops are kept at least 20 metres apart.
Most of those test sites were kept secret from the public to avert possible attacks by groups opposed to bio-engineering food crops.
Subject: German news