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6. Redress

The key to effective co-existence is a sensible, agreed definition of good practice to define the boundaries of negligence and due diligence in respect of GM and non-GM crop production. This is the basis for existing principles of liability within UK law.

The UK Government has, however, made a specific policy commitment that provision will be made to compensate non-GM growers who suffer financial loss through no fault of their own as a result of GM admixture exceeding the statutory 0.9% labelling threshold.

In consultation with a range of stakeholders, SCIMAC has developed outline proposals through which the UK farm supply chain, collectively, can respond positively to the Government’s stated policy objective.

It is proposed to develop an industry ‘Redress Charter’, delivered through existing supply chain systems, and with the single objective of restoring - through private settlement – the marketing position of non-GM growers who suffer demonstrable financial loss as a result of GM admixture. Redress would be available where all parties have complied with the respective co-existence measures and statutory requirements. If GM (or non-GM) farmers are at fault through negligence or misuse of product, however, they should bear any responsibility – and cost.

Under the proposed system, redress would be limited to the market price differential between an affected and unaffected crop. The proposal relates only to crops exceeding the statutory 0.9% labelling threshold.

With commercial cultivation of GM crops in the UK still anticipated to be several years away, it is premature to specify a single means of providing redress. However, it is likely that there will be a number, possibly a large number, of ways in which redress could be provided, including:

  • Direct replacement of affected produce (crop substitution)
  • Indirect replacement of affected produce (for example, by ‘virtual’ crop substitution, where provision is made to direct the affected produce to an accepting channel, and treat the claimant’s payment as though the crop were as originally intended.)
  • Direct cash compensation
  • Compensation in other forms (including products or goods of agreed equivalent value)
  • Facilitation of insurance cover

There may equally be optional routes to market for the Redress Charter. Given the proposed incorporation of co-existence requirements within existing farm assurance schemes, however, the following four-step process illustrates how existing contractual and seed licensing arrangements can be applied to deliver the Redress Charter along the supply chain.

Step 1

OBJECTIVE:

Specify mechanism(s) to deliver requirements of SCIMAC Redress Charter for each GM crop placed on the UK market

HOW:

Conditions specified in Certified Seed Sales Licence or Contract (eg Inter-Professional Agreement)

WHO:

Contractual agreement between Technology Provider and individual Distributors (eg seed merchants, or in some cases plant breeders)

Step 2

OBJECTIVE:

Ensure all growers purchasing certified seed of GM crops are accredited to recognised Farm Assurance Schemes

HOW:

Conditions specified in Certified Seed Sales Licence or Contract

WHO:

Verification of grower’s Farm Assured status by Distributor (using existing electronic verification systems)

Step 3

OBJECTIVE:

Ensure all GM crops grown within recognised Farm Assurance Schemes are covered by the Redress Charter

HOW:

Farm Assurance Schemes permit only GM crops covered by the Redress Charter

WHO:

Growers must comply with Farm Assurance standards

Step 4

OBJECTIVE:

Verify that GM growers have complied with Farm Assurance standards on coexistence

HOW:

Annual on-farm audit by independently accredited inspectors, as required as a component of recognised Farm Assurance Schemes

WHO:

Growers’ compliance with co-existence measures, including the requirement to use seed covered by Redress Charter, is included as part of annual audit process

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