Americans may not be wholeheartedly enthusiastic about genetically modified (GM) foods but American corn, cotton and soy farmers have adopted them widely since their commercial introduction in 1996. In fact, most of the time we don’t know whether we are eating GM foods or not: the FDA doesn’t believe we need to.
In Europe it’s very different. Europeans have little tolerance for what they call “frankenfoods”. Few farmers have adopted GM and anything that does contain GM food has to be labeled. And now the European Court of Justice has gone a step farther. They’ve ruled that German honey that has trace elements of GM from an adjoining corn field will have to be labeled and undergo safety testing. As the UK’s liberal daily the Guardian reports, green groups are claiming this is a “groundbreaking decision” while some agricultural experts say it’s without basis in scientific fact.
The European Union consumer protection spokesman, Frédéric Vincent, is worried that shoppers might stop buying honey as a result of the news. “It’s an important ruling from the court,” he told the Guardian. “I can’t say at this point whether we need to change any laws. The contamination is done by the bees themselves. We can’t put GPS tracking on the bees.”