Brussels – The European Parliament will later today vote to reject labelling of honey contaminated with pollen from genetically modified (GM) crops, making bees the vehicles of GM and pesticide contamination, said Greenpeace. The Parliament’s vote means a Commission proposal to limit consumer information on honey is likely to become law .
Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: “Bees are on the front line of Europe’s toxic agricultural system, so it is not surprising that what they are subjected to in the field ends up on the breakfast table as honey. Instead of recognising that bees should be protected from industrial farming and that GM and conventional agriculture cannot coexist, the EU’s response has been to brush the problem under the carpet. The result is that consumers will not know what they are eating and bee decline will continue to threaten food production.”
A new Greenpeace study shows that pollen collected by bees is also contaminated with toxic cocktails of pesticides . The study, The bees’ burden, the largest ever carried out in Europe, found samples of pollen tainted with up to 17 chemicals.
Honey contamination occurs when GM pollen foraged by bees mixes with honey in the hive. In tests published in 2012, German consumer magazine Öko-Test found contamination in 14 out of 20 honey brands it examined .
The massive decline in bee numbers is a major threat to food production, with at least a third of agriculture directly reliant on pollinators.
 A case brought to the European Court of Justice drew attention to the large-scale GM-contamination of honey sold in Europe. The Court’s ruling in 2011 signalled that products containing contaminated pollen should be labelled (see: http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/News/2011/EU-court-bans-honey-contaminated-by-genetically-modified-crop), but the Commission recommended a different interpretation of EU law that would not require labelling.
Marco Contiero – Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director: +32 (0)477 777034.
Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911,
For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.