An attempt by the UK's Conservative Party and its allies to force countries to allow EU-approved GMO crops has been defeated by the European Parliament, writes Keith Taylor. Instead MEPs voted to strengthen the national GMO opt-out. But the UK still has a battle to fight against its avidly pro-GMO government.
The European Parliaments environment committee today voted on a proposal for a new scheme for the authorisation of genetically-modified organisms in the EU. The vote by MEPs strengthens the grounds on which member states or regions could opt-out from GMO authorisations under the proposed new system.
After the vote, Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes said:
MEPs have today voted to strengthen the hand of member states or regions wanting to opt-out of EU authorisations of GMOs, under a proposed new scheme, even if major concerns remain about the overall proposal. No must mean no: countries wanting to opt out of GM authorisations must have a totally legally watertight framework for doing so. However, the Greens are still very concerned that this new opt-out scheme is a slippery slope for easing EU GMO authorisations and does not fundamentally change the flawed EU approval process in itself.
Todays vote would offer much greater certainty …
Despite lobbying from the GM industry, I remain very concerned that the mixing of genes involved in the often haphazard genetic ‘engineering' process interferes with the process of evolution.
Strong evidence of the safety of GM food still doesn't seem to exist, no matter how much Monsanto insists that nothing can go wrong and only GMOs can ‘feed the world'.
In fact, I believe that GM crops actually present a danger to the world's future food supplies by restricting the choice of seeds and creating a dangerous genetic uniformity in our main food crops.
Three years on from when these discussions began, this is now the challenge for MEPs. And because GM contaminates other crops, once we start growing it on a mass scale there may be no way back.
If we are going to provide food for the Earth's growing population in a time of climate chaos, then small-scale and ideally organic farming is the answer – not Monsanto-dominated unsafe GMO agriculture.
That's why I will continue to work with my Green colleagues in Europe to push towards an outright ban on GMO crops across the entire EU.
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