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Genetically Modified Organisms: Crops

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 9th May 2007.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for commercial growers of GM crops if beekeepers refuse to place their hives near to GM crops.

Photo of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson Minister of State (Climate Change and the Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The potential implications would depend on the type of GM crop being grown and the specific policy that beekeepers were following. No commercial GM cropping is expected here for several years at least and it is difficult to make firm assumptions about the circumstances that might arise in the future. What can be said is that GM crops will only be grown here commercially if they are approved as safe at EU level, and if there is a market for them because they offer some recognised benefit. We know that beekeepers have concerns about GM presence in honey, and we will continue to discuss the coexistence of GM and honey production with them. From a regulatory standpoint it should not generally be necessary to avoid placing hives near to GM crops, as research has shown that any GM presence in honey should always be well below the 0.9 per cent. EU labelling threshold.

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