Does organic, by definition, have to mean GM-free? That is the one of the questions the European Commission is asking in a new EU-wide public consultation on the future of organic food production in Europe, which launched today.

The online consultation asks EU citizen for their views on a range of issues affecting the organic sector and its production standards, including pesticide levels, animal welfare standards and awareness levels of the EU organic logo.

On GM specifically, it poses five questions: (1) how important is it that organic, by definition, means GM-free, (2) are consumers aware the tolerance level for all foods for accidental contamination with GM materials is currently 0.9% and that there is no requirement to label this, (3) should organic products be subject to the same labelling rules as conventional products for such accidental GM contamination, (4) should the tolerance threshold be lower for organic than for conventional products and (5) would you – as a consumer – be prepared to pay more for organic products if a lower GM labelling limit resulted in higher prices.

Commissioner Dacian Ciolos said the EC was committed to the highest production standards for organic food. “The open consultation is a great opportunity for European citizens to be involved in preparing the future of European agriculture,” he added.

The consultation will be open from 15 January to 10 April. The EC said it would use the responses to inform its new political and legal framework for organic agriculture in Europe, which it plans to put forward at the end of this year.