The German move to ban GM crops will make use of new ‘opt-out’ rules to stop cultivation of genetically modified crops, even if varieties have been approved by the EU.
A letter seen by news agency Reuters shows that German's Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Christian Schmidt, has told state governments of his intention to inform the EU of the country’s intention to use the new clause to ban the growing of GM crops in the country.
New laws, approved in March, made it possible for new genetically modified crops to be approved within the European Union – after years of previous deadlock. However, the new laws also mean that individual countries now have the right to ‘opt out’ and ban GMO crops - even after they have been approved as safe by the European Commission.
The move for an outright ban of GM cultivation on German soil follows pressure from five state governments for a nationwide ban instead of the current ‘patchwork’ approach, which leaves it up to individual German states to decide on a ban.
Under the new EU rules, countries have until 3 October 2015, to inform the Commission that they wish to opt out of new EU GMO cultivation approvals, the ministry letter said.
Schmidt has asked German state authorities to say by 11 September whether their region should be included in the opt-out.