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Genetically Modified Organisms: Crops

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

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. (133984)

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.