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EU votes for more flexibility on GM crops



The EU has voted to give individual member states the final say on whether or not genetically modified (GM) crops can be grown within their borders under a compromise deal on the dividing issue.

GM is a controversial subject, with the European networks of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility stating that there is no consensus on the safety of such goods. However, in March last year, the Council for Science and Technology called for GM crops to be expanded in the UK, adding there should be fewer EU restrictions, as there is no evidence GM crops are dangerous to humans or the environment.

Whilst the use of GM crops is widespread in America and Asia but Europe has generally been more cautious of adopting GM produce. The new law gives greater flexibility, allowing governments to cite factors, such as protection of an ecosystem or contamination, in order to ban any GM variety. The measure was passed by a majority of 480 to 159.

Authorities will now review a list of GM products waiting for approval with the bloc.

In response to the new law, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director, Marco Contiero said, “This new law is supposed to give countries some legal mussel to prevent GM crops from being grown on their territory.

“But is has some major flaws: it grants biotech companies the power to negotiate with elected governments and excludes the strongest legal argument to ban GM crops – evidence of environmental harm.”

Photo: USDAgov via Flickr 

Further reading:

No consensus on GM food safety, scientists say

Owen Paterson calls for Britons to eat local – and backs GM crops

Renewed backing for GM crops

Biotech giant Monsanto confirms Europe GM crops exit

Leading scientists urge UK to expand GM crops


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