Poland bans GM potato growing

Poland has become the latest EU country to ban cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops, singling out the Amflora potato and the maize variety MON 810.

Amflora potatoes being harvested in Germany - image: BASF Plant Science
Amflora potatoes being harvested in Germany - image: BASF Plant Science

Grown as a source of industrial starch, the BASF-bred Amflora is one of 48 GMOs approved by the European Commission for cultivation within the EU.

But under the so-called "safeguard clause", member states can temporarily restrict or prohibit the use or sale of any such variety within their territory if they have "justifiable reasons" for considering it a risk to human health or the environment.

In this case, the Polish Ministry of Agriculture argued that cultivating GM crops risked contaminating conventional crops.

Explaining Poland's opt-out, prime minister Donald Tusk said: "On the one hand we want, on pain of being fined, to implement European legislation on this issue. But on the other hand there is no one among us who is an enthusiast for GM."

Six other member states - Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg - have already banned the cultivation of MON 810 maize, which is already grown commercially in six other EU countries.

Amflora potatoes meanwhile are grown commercially in Germany. Sweden and the Czech Republic.

Polish farmers found growing either variety after 28 January face tough fines and the destruction of crops.


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