Greens, who are campaigning for a GMO-free Europe, are celebrating after the European Parliament objected to 5 pending GMO authorisations. A vote in the Parliament yesterday sent a clear signal to the Council body tasked with deciding on the authorisations. The new objections by MEPs follow previous objections to authorizations for GM maize, soybeans and carnations.

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, who sits on the Parliament’s Agricultural Committee, said:

“I am delighted that MEPs have followed the Green lead on this issue and signalled their opposition to GM crops in Europe. It’s not just the science of GMOs that is suspect, it’s the fact that GM crops are intended for intensively farmed monocultures which threaten biodiversity and soil fertility.

“There is also the issue of corporate power. The planned merger between German pharmaceutical giant Bayer and American seed-maker Monsanto would strengthen the arm of the GM seed lobby. If this takeover is ever allowed to take place it would create one giant corporation controlling 30% of the world market for seeds and 24% of the pesticide market.

“Agri-business argues we need GM to feed the world, but the world already produces enough food for 10bn people. Our focus should not be on increasing production, but rather on ensuring food security and nutrition, through farming practices that are both socially and environmentally just.

“Further, soil acts as a vital carbon sink, and is key to achieving our carbon emissions reduction targets. The recently launched European Citizens Initiative, People4Soil, demands a legislative framework specifically to protect our soils, the source of our food and life.”

Seventeen member states have banned GMOs on their own soil and the majority of EU citizens are opposed to GM crops. The UK government however, supports the growing of GM crops and there are concerns that once the country has left the EU the government may try to push for cultivation. Dr Scott Cato said:

“The government has failed to outline its vision for British farming following the vote to withdraw from the EU but shows worrying signs it will try and take us down a route of intensification, including the cultivation of GM crops. This is a critical time for small scale farmers, environmental campaigners and progressive politicians to seize the moment and help shape a healthy, economically sustainable, environmentally-friendly and GM-free agriculture sector for the future.”   

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