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Greece to Destroy 9,000 Acres of Biotech Cotton

(7 August - Cropchoice News) -- The Greek agriculture minister announced today that the country will destroy over 9,000 acres of fields planted with biotech-contaminated cotton. Greece says it will pay affected farmers an estimated 3.5 million dollars. It is the first time that a government has ordered the destruction of a biotech crop used primarily for nonfood purposes.

Greek officials say that more than 6 tons of cotton seed imported this year contained GMOs, none of which are approved for commercial planting in the country. By destroying the contaminated fields, Greece hopes to avoid problems with its major cotton exports to other European countries.

The announcement marks the third GMO-contaminated crop to be plowed under in Europe this year. In May, several countries destroyed GMO-contaminated canola seed imported from Canada and France decided this weekend to destroy a small plot of biotech contaminated soybeans. The plot, with up to 1.5% biotech content, was for seed production.

Greek farmers were the biggest victims of the latest mixup, which was caused by seed companies not keeping conventional varieties separate from GMOs. None of the seeds were supposed to be biotech.

Greece produces just short of 400,000 metric tons of cotton fibre (excluding seeds & oil) a year - equivalent just over 10% of US production.

Source: Reuters, Greenpeace-Greece