Farmers frustrated after MEPs pave way for GM bans

The NFU has expressed frustration after MEPs backed a proposal that would allow member states to ban the cultivation of GM crops at a national level.

The European Parliament environment committee said member states should be allowed to disregard the EU's current authorisation procedure, where the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) makes the decision on GM safety, and make their own scientific assessment.

Under their proposal, countries would be able to use environmental grounds, such as pesticide resistance or invasiveness of crops, to bring in national bans, even if the EFSA had already deemed concerns unfounded.

Dr Helen Ferrier, the NFU's chief scientific adviser, said the MEPs were ignoring sound science and jeopardising food security.

"The European GM authorisation procedure is already the strictest and most highly scrutinised in the world. So the idea that member states would need to do their own scientific assessment seems to be more for political reasons," she contended.

"We urge MEPs to have a sensible GM debate in Europe based on sound science. We have a huge global challenge to feed a population that is due to hit nine billion by 2050 while having less impact on the environment and tackling climate change," she added.

"To achieve this we will need every weapon in our armoury. That includes GM crops that have been adapted to cope in dry conditions, need fewer pesticides and offer nutritional benefits."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

How will the fresh-produce growing season pan out with less labour?

How will the fresh-produce growing season pan out with less labour?

The new fresh-produce season is around the corner and Brexit just over a year away, yet the Government has still given no indication that it will enable seasonal workers to come to the UK in the volumes the sector requires, either in this season or any other.

What recent developments can help growers fight orchard pests and diseases?

What recent developments can help growers fight orchard pests and diseases?

Last week's British Independent Fruit Growers Association Technical Day (31 January), heard about the latest research in orchard pests and diseases and how to deal with them.

Is a move away from plastic produce packaging now inevitable?

Is a move away from plastic produce packaging now inevitable?

A tipping point has been reached in the attitude of retailers and the Government to waste plastic which is likely to affect suppliers' future packaging options.