Alison Mann in the Scottish Farmer writes about the new Directive on Genetically Modified Organisms approved in the European Parliament this week which will allow member states to block – or accept – cultivation of GM crops on their own territory.
She reports that legal services in the European Parliament and Council are raising concerns over whether member states could implement bans without facing determined opposition from agribusiness interests.
Elsewhere comes news of an assessment from the Bundestag’s Green Party indicating that the GMO ban would be threatened by free trade agreements the EU is planning with Canada (CETA) and the United States (TTIP).
Free trade – gateway for agricultural genetic engineering ( in German) is a study conducted by Christoph Then, of the possible consequences of TTIP based on the CETA text. (Graphic from cover above).
SNP MEP Alyn Smith described the new rules as a “toxic guddle”
He is concerned that:
- the new law would not prevent the free circulation of GM products into Scotland,
- it does not provide for the adequate labelling of products containing GM materials,
- there are no provisions on how the rules to prevent contamination would be tackled within a member state.
He explained that the SNP are unable to support the new law: “Although in theory this legislation would give the Scottish government the right to ban the cultivation of GM crops on our territory, we are unable to support it due to its wider flaws.”
Some reported flaws:
- they produce lower yields,
- now fetch lower prices,
- overall use more pesticides
- face problems with pests becoming resistant to some pesticides
- face problems with weeds resistant to a wide range of weedkillers
- currently no GM crops authorised for use in the EU can be grown in England.