EU court bans honey contaminated by genetically modified crop

Press release - September 6, 2011
Luxembourg, 6 September 2011 - The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) today banned beekeepers from selling honey contaminated by a genetically modified (GM) crop.

The court ruled that honey from a German beekeeper could not be sold after being contaminated by pollen from Monsanto’s MON810 maize, one of only two GM crops cultivated for commercial purposes in Europe [1].


Greenpeace EU agriculture policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer said: “The ECJ ruling highlights how conventional and genetically modified agriculture cannot co-exist. When a GM crop is grown in open fields, contamination is impossible to stop. It’s a scandal there’s no Europe-wide liability regime to protect beekeepers or farmers affected by GM crops. Monsanto and the Bavarian state that grew the crop should be held fully liable for this genetic pollution and compensate any beekeeper affected.”

The German beekeeper’s hives were 500 metres from a test field of MON810 on Bavarian government land. MON810 is currently authorised for a limited number of food uses, excluding GM pollen in honey, and the court’s ruling upholds the EU’s zero tolerance rules for unauthorised GM contamination. The ruling could make it easier for German beekeepers to claim compensation, something still to be decided by a German court.

In Europe, MON810 is grown mainly in Spain, and to a much lesser extent in Portugal, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Romania.



[1] ECJ ruling on Case C-442/09: 

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer on 0032 22741920 or
Greenpeace EU press officer Jack Hunter on 0032 22741915 or


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