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EU health commissioner to prioritise talks on GM crop bans

2 commentsBy Caroline Scott-Thomas , 24-Jan-2013
Last updated the 24-Jan-2013 at 13:14 GMT

BASF's Amflora potato is one of two crops approved for cultivation in Europe
BASF's Amflora potato is one of two crops approved for cultivation in Europe

EU health commissioner Tonio Borg intends to prioritise discussions with key European member states about permissible grounds for banning cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops in individual countries, according to a spokesperson for the commissioner.

The European Commission drafted a proposal in 2010 to allow individual member states the right to decide whether or not to allow cultivation of GM crops within their borders on grounds other than environment and health concerns. But this proposal has remained under discussion and, so far, no progress has been made.

Frederic Vincent, spokesperson for Borg, told FoodNavigator that the commissioner intends to enter discussions with key member states, such as the UK, Germany and France, as a matter of priority, to see whether an agreement can be reached.

If the proposal were to become law, all GM crops would still need to go through safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority, and EU approval, only after which member states would be able to allow, restrict or ban their cultivation at national level.

Eight countries have already taken decisions to block cultivation of GM for specific scientific reasons, which are the only grounds allowed under the current system. Most recently, Poland’s Ministry of Agriculture cited concerns that GM crops could cross-pollinate with non-GM crops, and that pollen from Monsanto’s NK810 maize could find its way into honey.

Vincent added that media reports of a ‘freeze’ on new GM crop approvals until 2014 were misleading.

Seven crops are currently awaiting authorisation for approval, six maize varieties and one soybean variety. The Commission had not yet decided whether to launch the authorisation process, he said.

“This is indeed not foreseen in the very near future, but it is untrue to say that it is frozen until 2014,” he said.

Currently, two GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are approved for cultivation in Europe – Monsanto’s MON810 corn, and BASF’s Amflora potato. Several other GMO crops are not approved for cultivation but can be imported into Europe, and unintentional presence of GMOs is tolerated at a level of up to 0.9% in other crops.

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Proposing GM BAN ON FOOD CROPS?

COULD BE THE BEST EVER DECISION FOR BENEFIT OF EU ON PUBLIC HEALTH

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Posted by HARRY
06 February 2013 | 00h23

Nature is an open system it is not a group of cluster

If eight countries of the EU are banning GM cultivation it seems that they don't believe on EFSA's authority.
The authority of the EFSA definitely collapsed when it became clear that the principles of coexistence was a makeup to look good with God and devil. They assume last Workshop carried out in Berlin on December 2011 that they do not take into account de presence of pollinators, insects, birds and small animals when they wrote the law.
Agribusiness took the "cluster" concept from the industry as the origin of ISO or DIN norms but honeybees shown us that nature is an open system and wiring or fence are good to understand the limits of private property but not externalities of their productions or soil use.

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Posted by Fernando Esteban
25 January 2013 | 15h39

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