Tag Archives: SNP MEP Alyn Smith

Will ‘determined opposition from GM agribusiness interests’ over-rule the decisions of governments like Scotland, Wales and Germany?

15 Jan

alison mannAlison 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).

testbiotech cover graphic

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.

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Europol: unsafe counterfeit pesticides are being sold in bulk

16 Jul

February 2012: Gordon Davidson reported in the Scottish Farmer, that the European Union law enforcement agency, Europol, has issued a warning about counterfeit pesticides, which could account for as much as 25% of supplies in some European countries.

The agency pointed out that many of the illicit pesticides violated safety standards and could include banned chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system and the production of hormones, threatening the health of farmers and consumers and posing a risk to the natural environment.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith said the trade in illegal pesticides is big business, already amounting to billions of euros a year and rising . . . This trade is now so widespread and professional that it really is difficult to tell the difference between legitimate and counterfeit supplies, and even more so considering that, as often as not, these illegal products also use the packaging of big and well-recognised agrichemical companies such as Syngenta, Du Pont and BASF.

Farmers and wholesalers  are urged to be vigilant when purchasing pesticide

Warning – if you must buy these products:

  • always buy products from reputable suppliers.
  • avoid Internet deals or mobile offers that seem ‘too good to be true’
  • never buy pesticides from anyone who refuses to give a receipt
  • always ensure that the products have proper labels with complete instructions in English.