Crop Biotech Update

European Approach to GM is a "Zero Sense" Policy

March 31, 2010

The European Union's zero-tolerance of trace amounts of unapproved genetically modified material in imported food and feed is scientifically unsound and could lead to economic ruin. Robert Wagner and Alan McHughen expressed this view in Zero sense in European approach to GM published in EMBO Reports.

The authors ask: Are European consumers aware of just how much the zero-tolerance policy is costing them, both in denied benefits to farmers and increased food and feed costs to everyone?  The "zero-sense" policy is "scientifically unsound and impractical, is unenforceable and in the future might result in a Europe that is unable to import any crops whatsover."

The article notes that the EU is becoming increasingly isolated internationally as its authorization procedures have not kept pace with the rapid adoption of new GM crops in other parts of the world. It notes the minimal, medium and worst case impact scenarios of the policy.

For more information contact Robert Wager at and Alan McHughen at