specific news, events and more...
Co-existence measures and legal aspects
Finland has yet to pass legislation on co-existence, but preparations are underway. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has established a working group for legal aspects of co-existence as well as a subgroup for technical matters. A draft law on co-existence is in circulation for public comment and has been notified to the European Commission in July 2008 (No 2008/309/FIN).
The draft law contains measures on registration and sharing of information about GM cultivation, technical measures for minimising the unintentional mixing of GM crop materials with non-GM crops during cultivation, handling, storage and transportation; and measures on compensation and liability. The scope of the draft law is farm level.
Separation distances shall be given in a ministerial decree before their GM cultivation is started in Finland.
The most important measures in the draft law are:
- Before sowing or planting GM plant material, the grower shall make a written notification to the authorities before the first of December in the year preceding the sowing or planting date.
- All GM cultivations are published by the register authorities. All interested parties can obtain more detailed information from this register.
- The grower must also notify other actors, such as those who share machinery, equipment or facilities with the grower.
- The GM grower has to pass an examination organised by the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira. In the examination, safe and appropriate command of GM cultivation and knowledge of the statutory requirements are to be demonstrated.
- The GM grower has to keep records of information needed for the traceability of the GM material and for verifying that the measures asked for in the present draft law have been duly obeyed.
- The GM grower shall stick to separation distances and if necessary additional technical measures, such as in cleaning and storage, depending on the type of GM crop. The specific distances shall be given in a ministerial decree before their GM cultivation is started in Finland. GM growers are responsible for fulfilling the statutory separation distances. All actors involved are responsible for fulfilling the general technical measures.
- Losses caused by admixture of GM plant materials with non-GM plant varieties in conventional or organic production may be compensated by the state on certain preconditions: that the damages are most likely due to the growing of GM plant materials and are not the result of acts of the party suffering the damages. Damages are compensated if the GM admixture exceeds the GM limits imposed on such products of cultivation in EC product legislation with the consequence that the products either are not permitted to be marketed at all or can only be marketed labelled as GM products. Additionally, costs of the necessary investigations, such as sampling, shall be compensated for the conventional or organic grower in question. For the organic grower, also costs of the actions necessary for restoring the genetically mixed plantation to the condition stated in community legislation on organic agriculture shall be compensated, as well as costs caused by the reversion of his plant cultivations or animal production to the conversion period defined in Regulation (EEC) No. 2092/91. Compensation can be applied for from the Finnish Food Safety Authority. If the damages have been caused by the GM grower due to neglect or omission, the Finnish state has a right of recourse towards the GM grower.
- Cultivation of GM plant material can be restricted or prohibited within a geographically restricted area important for its seed production, provided that the purity requirements for seed production in the Finnish Seed Trade Act cannot be reached by other measures provided in the present draft law.
Regional Co-extra reporter /rapporteur: