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article imageEurope revises its stance on GM crops

By Tim Sandle     Dec 14, 2014 in Environment
A new agreement in the European Union allows genetically engineered crops to be approved without member-state votes. This represents a U-turn for before all member states needed to agree. The new policy will allow several GMO foods to enter the market.
The European Union (EU) Parliament together with the EU Commission reached a compromise regarding genetically engineered or genetically modified (GM) crops. With the new agreement, the EU does not need a majority of member states to agree a decision to approve a GM food product for human consumption. This means that the EU now has the authority to make decisions independent of member states. However, each state can then overrule the approval in its own country. This policy was predicted by Digital Journal last month. The new arrangement will be effective by spring of 2015.
This means that two neighboring states, such as France and German, could adopt different positions on a GM crop with one country allowing it to grow and the other banning its use. This emphasizes the illogicality of the policy for seeds are not aware of national borders.
Furthermore, as Nature reports, several GM crops that “have been in limbo for years” are now likely to inch toward the market. Crops that stand to benefit from the new arrangement include a variety of corn called Bt11, which has been under EU regulatory review since the mid-1990s.
Several of the pro-GM lobby are not happy with the news. Beat Späth, from the Brussels-based biotechnology lobby EuropaBio, is disappointed that individual European countries still have a right to ban EU-approved products within their borders. Equally, opponents of GM crops are displeased that the European Food Safety Authority’s evaluation process has not changed.
More about Genetically modified, Crops, Corn, Genetics
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