Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has warned that a vote today in the European Parliament opens the flood gates to GMOs in England. The new system of regulation, voted for by a majority of MEPs, replaces a Europe wide ban on GM crops with an in-out option. This allows countries to ban GM crops, but also to opt in and grow crops that have passed the EU’s GMO authorisation process. Given the strong support for GM from both the Conservatives and Labour, GM crops that have been authorised by the EU could be grown in England by 2017.
Speaking during the debate in the European Parliament, Dr Scott Cato who is a member of the Agricultural Committee, said:
“The idea of national opt-outs from GMO regulation makes no sense and ignores the wishes of the vast majority of EU citizens that our continent should remain GM free. The proposal is inherently detrimental to the single market and to European unity.”
By contrast, Conservative MEP for the South West, Julie Girling welcomed the news, saying the new rules would ‘unblock the wholly unjustified failure’ to allow GMO crops. She believes the Commission should have gone further and claimed there had been a ‘disproportionate demonisation of GM foods’.
Molly Scott Cato rejects this and believes her opposition to GM is more in tune with the majority of her constituents:
“We aren’t voting on an end to the GM moratorium because of lobbying from our constituents. I haven’t received a single email calling on me to allow GM crops into the South West. We have arrived here because of relentless high-powered well funded lobbying by the corporations who have no interest in our welfare, but instead want to control our food supply and to swell their own profits.
“Citizens across Europe have rejected GM and we must continue to respect their view and condemn the specious arguments and profiteering instincts of the agricultural corporations. Greens will continue to stand with the many small farmers and consumers in the South West who don’t want this dangerous technology.”
Greens in the Parliament voted against the new scheme to ‘renationalise’ decisions about GMO cultivation. They are instead calling for ‘urgent reform’ of the risk assessment process.