“Despite 19 of the EU’s 28 members voting against, American chemicals giants Du Pont and Dow look set to get the seal of approval on growing a strain of genetically modified corn in Europe.
Four member states abstained, while only five approved the crop, but because of the EU’s weighted voting system the European Commission is now obliged to pass it.” AP
The European Union had been somewhat of a shinning light in the fight against GM cultivation around the world- the stringent testing and regulations necessary to pass any “new food” strains of crops often see any GM licenses refused even before trial periods can be granted or organized. It is a real testament to what Europe chooses to value through the deep research it requires before even considering such technologies.
As a result, the big players within the GM industry have focused their efforts on the US, Asian and increasingly South American markets- where such regulations are soft to say the least- in a bid to further their strangle-hold on global agriculture and production. However recent murmurings from the UK and Spain, in favour of trials and GM technologies have encouraged the GM industry to take another stab at their chances in the region…and it seems to have paid-off.
As of 2012, the EU had only two GM grain strains under cultivation within it’s borders, but the latest acceptance suggests general opposition (at least within politics) is slipping and many more could soon follow.
The two strains already cultivated are as follows:
- The more widely grown of the two, MON810, is a type of maize that helps fight off pests, such as the European corn borer.
- The second approved product is a potato for industrial use called Amflora, approved in 2010. Its waxy starch content is useful for making paper, for example.
The good news, if there really is any to consider within this post, is that there also exists a safeguard clause that Member States may “invoke to temporarily restrict or prohibit the use and/or sale of a GMO within their territory if they have justifiable reasons to consider that the approved GMO constitutes a risk to human health or the environment”- a clause Germany (among others) has often used to the advantage and welfare of it’s citizens.
The EU now seems torn on the issue and after being passed, 12 national ministers signed a letter demanding the legislation to be blocked anyway with Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland and Slovenia were among the signatories.
However, with Germany once seen as the biggest opponent to GM in Europe abstaining from the vote and therefore allowing it to pass, there is growing uncertainty ahead of May’s EU elections as to how far the EU really is from greater GM cultivation- have the flood gates opened or was this the wake up call we needed. It May, it is somewhat in your hands…
More reaction can be read here:
A message from the writer:
Although often explicitly covering political issues on this blog and doing well not to hold back my opinions, I try not to call out certain political groups or ideologies. Equally I never encourage certain voting practices here, however you do have a vote in may and the future of your food may rest on it.