Wednesday, 3 December 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
125. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food his policy in regard to GM food production; the extent to which he has satisfied himself that such GM products are produced separate from conventional production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29478/03]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Responsibility for the formulation of policy and the implementation of legislation governing the labelling and safety of GM foods in Ireland rests with the Department of Health and Children. My Department has responsibility for ensuring regulatory compliance with regard to seeds and in the area of coexistence between GM crops and conventional crops.
The rules governing GMOs are set down in EU regulations adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. In the case of the growing of GM crops, member states are allowed to put in place their own arrangements to manage their cultivation. The EU Commission has provided guidelines to assist member states in this regard. All member states are now in the process of drawing up a series of national strategies and best practices to ensure that the co-existence of GM crops with conventional crops can be effectively managed in the context of the particular circumstances and requirements in each country.
My Department has established an interdepartmental-inter-agency working group which is currently examining all the issues involved with the objective of identifying best practices and procedures for GM crop production in this country. The precautionary principle will be applied to ensure that cross contamination is minimised as far as possible.
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