EU health commissioner to prioritise talks on GM crop bans

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on 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

Related tags: Gm crops, Genetically modified organism

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.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Say Cheese To Vegan

Say Cheese To Vegan


Consumers have numerous expectations on plant-based cheese. A strong demand to meet an immediate consumer need for high quality in terms of taste and texture...

Register for free

Formulating meat and fish alternatives?

Formulating meat and fish alternatives?

Univar Solutions | 30-Nov-2021 | Product Brochure

Whether you are entering the plant-based industry as a new brand or looking to expand your existing line, turn your knowledge of plant-based foods into...

Formulating plant-based products?

Formulating plant-based products?

Univar Solutions | 30-Nov-2021 | Product Brochure

Join Univar Solutions for an inspirational and interactive session on key market opportunities and the Big Bets, top tips on how to achieve the successful...

Create colorful products sustainably with EXBERRY®

Create colorful products sustainably with EXBERRY®

EXBERRY® by GNT | 04-Nov-2021 | Technical / White Paper

Environmental credentials are an increasingly important factor in food and drink products’ success. At GNT, we’re committed to driving industry standards...

Related suppliers



Posted by HARRY,


Report abuse

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

Posted by Fernando Esteban,

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.

Report abuse

Follow us


View more