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3. Audit

SCIMAC recognises the need to verify that farmers growing GM crops are complying with the co-existence measures specified in the SCIMAC guidelines. As discussed under ‘Oversight’ (point 4), the Government will specify the mechanism(s) required to monitor farmers’ compliance with statutory co-existence rules (ie on separation distances and notification).

In addition, farm assurance schemes include independent verification of farmers’ compliance with the required standards through an annual on-farm inspection carried out by independently accredited (EN 45011) auditors. Co-existence measures incorporated within existing farm assurance schemes will be subject to this independent audit process. This is the third component of SCIMAC’s six-point plan on co-existence.

Based on the experience of ADAS Consulting Ltd in auditing GM crop growers’ compliance with the SCIMAC guidelines at FSE sites, good progress has already been made in developing effective audit protocols, focused on 8 Critical Control Points:

  1. Seed delivery, storage & handling
  2. Seed drilling operations, including cleaning
  3. Handling of surplus seed
  4. Separation distances
  5. Field operations, including harvest preparations
  6. Harvesting operations
  7. Transport & storage of GM bulk
  8. Record keeping & post-harvest monitoring

As previously stated, failure to comply with the specified requirements of farm assurance schemes can result in withdrawal or loss of assured status, with potentially serious economic consequences.

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