Co-Existence of Genetically Modified Organisms in the European Union: A Veritable Choice for Whom?

Research Handbook on EU Agriculture Law, (Edward Elgar, 2015)

Posted: 21 Sep 2017

See all articles by Mary Dobbs

Mary Dobbs

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law

Date Written: November 2015

Abstract

This chapter examines the issue of coexistence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) alongside conventional and organic crops. The central focus is on whether there is a veritable opportunity for coexistence of all three types of crops, which allows for freedom of choice by both farmers and consumers. It commences by considering the nature of the general GM regime, the relationship between the frameworks for cultivation and the use and sale of GM food and feed, and the main elements of the cultivation regime. In light of this, the concept of coexistence is considered, with an evaluation of both the legal and practical elements. Although the general GM regime is controlled at an EU level, coexistence is apparently left to the Member States who may take appropriate coexistence measures. Nonetheless, the Commission has created Recommendations that are to guide the Member States in their choice of measures. To a great extent, what is considered ‘appropriate’ is to be determined by the economic impact upon the farmers and the relationship with the labeling thresholds. The chapter evaluates the future of coexistence, bearing in mind the continued use of the safeguard clauses, the declaration of ‘GM-free’ regions, the potential for national ‘opt-outs’ and the general practical challenges of maintaining coexistence including the ‘domino effect’. Overall, it is arguable that coexistence is a misnomer and that if the term’s meaning is strictly maintained then veritable coexistence that allows for freedom of choice by both farmers and consumers seems unattainable.

Keywords: GM crops, Coexistence, Agriculture, Environment

JEL Classification: Q10, Q16, Q18, K00, K10, K32, K11, K33, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Dobbs, Mary, Co-Existence of Genetically Modified Organisms in the European Union: A Veritable Choice for Whom? (November 2015). Research Handbook on EU Agriculture Law, (Edward Elgar, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2947337

Mary Dobbs (Contact Author)

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law ( email )

School of Law
Belfast BT7 1NN, BT7 1NN
Ireland

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