GMO victory: European states free to ‘opt out’ of biotechnology

Sunday, November 23, 2014
By Paul Martin

by: Jonathan Benson
Sunday, November 23, 2014

A regulatory scheme that would have barred individual European nations from deciding for themselves whether or not to allow the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has been rejected after the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to scrap it.

The European Commission had passed a law prohibiting individual EU member nations from banning any GMOs that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had already declared to be safe. This was quickly met with resistance by European nations such as France, which lean more toward opposing biotechnology.

Citing concerns about GMO safety and crop contamination, these countries sought more autonomous control over the GMO approval process with less centralized decision making. And they ultimately secured this with support from the European Conservatives and Reformists political bloc, which amended the law to allow countries more individual control.

According to The Guardian, an earlier compromise with pro-GMO countries like Spain and the UK would have only allowed European countries a two-year window in which to ban GMOs. The compromise also would have allowed biotech companies the opportunity to sue countries that tried to ban GMOs.

“The commission’s compromise with pro-GM countries… would have allowed countries a two-year window in which they could ban individual GM crops for reasons such as planning and agricultural objectives,” explains The Guardian.

“But these could have been challenged under the bloc’s internal market guidelines, and any governments wanting to ban GM would first have had to try to strike an ‘opt out’ deal with biotech companies, to exclude their territory from GM crop cultivation zones.”

European nations can individually ban GMOs for health, environmental reasons

The Rest…HERE

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