Miller's milk can be called "GM milk": Milk that has been produced with genetically modified fodder plants can be called GM milk by Greenpeace.
(22.09.2010) As the Federal Constitutional Court ruled today, the environmental activists at Greenpeace may in future label the milk of the dairy company "Müller" as "GM milk". This was preceded by a lawsuit lasting for years. The judges see the term as a free expression of opinion. Environmental activists can rely on the fundamental right of freedom of expression, as it was said. The Federal Court of Justice had already ruled. A corresponding complaint from the “Müller” dairy was rejected.
The move to the Federal Constitutional Court today was a success for the environmental organization. In the future, the environmental organization "Greenpeace" may call the milk from the "Müller" group "GM milk". The federal constitutional judges ruled that the term "GM milk" should be regarded as a "catchphrase". The meaning behind this statement is made clear by the overall campaign. In this context, the environmental activists had always talked about the feed of the cows. The company "Müller" still does not refrain from using genetic engineering methods in the entire production process. The "top judges" argued that "the criticism of their business conduct does not have any relevant factual basis". The topic of genetic engineering and possible health risk factors in the production of food is of great social and public interest.
In public protests, Greenpeace referred to Müller's milk products as "GM milk". According to environmentalists, the dairy group uses genetically modified feed maize for the cows. For the company, Greenpeace's arguments were an "untrue factual claim" because the milk was not treated with genetic engineering. The Müller group then sued Greenpeace to have the statement used banned. Because the statement "GM milk" is damaging to the business. In her constitutional complaint, Müller, based in Fischach-Aretsried, criticized, among other things, a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of occupation.
The Federal Constitutional Court had no doubts about the term “GM milk” in relation to the judgment of the Federal Court of Justice. The term as such is "low in substance", but the meaning behind it becomes clear when one looks at the context. According to the judges, the contested wording does not contain any untrue factual claims. The environmentalists have expressed the importance of all actions and have pointed out the background of genetically modified feed. Above all, the group criticized that consumers might think that the milk as such was genetically modified. The judges did not allow the argument.
The environmental activists see the judgment as a great success. "The verdict of the Federal Constitutional Court is a great success for Greenpeace and the rights of consumers, says Stephanie Töwe, genetic engineering expert at Greenpeace. Freedom of expression and transparency remain more important than the interest of dairies to disguise the use of GM plants. The dairy cows for miller milk -Products or their subsidiary brand Weihenstephan are fed with GM plants, so these products can still be called 'GM milk'. " The environmentalists argue that there is sufficient animal feed without GM plants, but the company still allows its contract farmers to feed GM plants to the cows. Genetically modified foods have had to be labeled in the EU since April 2004. However, products such as milk, cheese or meat from animals that have been fed with gene plants are excluded. For this reason, Greenpeace is also campaigning for labeling requirements for dairy products. (sb)