Daily Management Review

European Parliament Votes Down GM Crops Proposal


10/13/2015




In a significant setback for the European Commission’s plans to legislate for GM crops Members of European Parliament (MEP) rejected proposals that would allow EU member states to control or restrict the use of genetically-modified food or feed in their territory.
 
In a vote that took place on Tuesday in Brussels, the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee voted against the proposal by 47 to three, with five abstentions.
 
EU is significantly divided in its opinion over the issue of genetically-modified crops. While a number of genetically modified organisms or GMOs have been authorized for consumption, mainly in animal feed, only one genetically-modified crop is authorized for cultivation in the EU in comparison to the US and Asia where GM food and feed are widely used.
 
The most opposed countries to GM crops are Germany and France. The Irish Farmers Association has said it supports biotechnology that has proven to be scientifically sound even as no commercial cultivation of GM crops takes place in Ireland.
 
In March, the commission gave the right to individual countries to choose to opt in to the proposal if they so chose helped to pave the way for new GMO food and feed to be approved. But campaigners such as Greenpeace say that opt-outs are not legally sound.
  
Amid concerns from some that the European Commission’s authorisation process for GM foods is flawed as well as worries about its impact on the single market, on Tuesday morning the European Parliament environment committee rejected the proposal.
 
Describing the European Commission’s proposal as “half-baked”, Irish MEP Lynn Boylan, who sits on the committee, welcomed the outcome of the vote. She said that this vote would address the concerns of the citizens of Europe which were serious and just concerns regarding the use of GMOs.
 
The decision, that is expected to be ratified at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg later this month, was also welcomed by committee member Mairéad McGuinness.
 
 “To allow one member state to ban the use of animal feed containing GM ingredients in their territory would disadvantage farmers and seriously disrupt the livestock sector,” said McGuinness. She added that the practical implications of the proposal had not been thought through and welcomed the recognition that the EU needs to import protein, which is mainly GM soya, for animal feed.
 
EU’s executive arm noted the decision but declined to comment further until the full vote in Strasbourg in late October.
 
The European Commission should come forward with a new proposal on genetically-modified products claimed Bart Staes of the Green group in the European Parliament.
 
 “We cannot persist with the current situation by which authorizations proceed in spite of flawed risk assessments and the consistent opposition of a majority of EU governments and, importantly, a clear majority of EU citizens,” he said.
 
 (Source:www.irishtimes.com & www,europarl.europa.eu) 






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