Licence to Ban Safe GM Crops Undermines Innovation and the Single Market
Brussels, 13 January 2015– “This is a stop sign for innovation in Europe”, said Jeff Rowe, Chairman of the Agri-Food Council of EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, commenting on the vote by the European Parliament on genetically modified (GM) crops.
“Member States will receive a license to ban safe products which have been approved at European level, and they will be allowed to base these bans on non-scientific grounds. This sets a dangerous precedent for the internal market and sends a negative signal to innovative industries considering investing in Europe. European researchers and farmers have lost access to this key-enabling technology and the chance to grow more sustainable crops and remain competitive globally”, he said.
All serious existing evidence, after more than 18 years of large scale GMO cultivation and consumption, has shown that GM crops are as safe as their conventional counterparts and can deliver remarkable benefits for farmers, consumers and the environment. The EU legal framework for the cultivation of GM products, initially adopted in 2001 (Directive 2001/18/EC), has never been correctly implemented because of a lack of political will. Both the Commission and EU Member States regularly fail to respect mandatory deadlines for GM approvals not only for cultivation, but also for imports of GM crops on which European livestock farmers are heavily dependent.
“Safe products should be authorised without further delay. 23 safety-assessed GM products are currently waiting for approval by the EC, among which 18 are for import, not cultivation. Without these imports we are putting our livestock farming sector at risk”, added Rowe. EuropaBio cautions against expectations that this vote will lead to faster GM approvals. The biotech industry firmly believes that failing to support the EU’s own best science is the single most damaging element for growth, innovation, investment as well as consumer confidence and safety.
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Communications Manager Green Biotechnology Europe, EuropaBio
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- Positive scientific opinions by the European Food Safety Authority EFSAon over 70 GM product dossiers.
- A decade of EU-funded GMO research (2001 - 2010), European Commission, 2010: “Biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than conventional plant breeding technologies.”
- Planting the future: opportunities and challenges for using crop genetic improvement technologies for sustainable agriculture, EASAC – the European Academies Science Advisory Council (2013): “The scientific literature shows no compelling evidence to associate such crops […] with risks to the environment or with safety hazards for food and animal feed greater than might be expected from conventionally bred varieties of the same crop.”
- What people say about GMO safety, EuropaBio (2014)
- Infographics on the EU risk assessment / safety of GMOs, EuropaBio
GM imports authorisations:
- European farmers’ organisation Copa-Cogeca, together with various actors from the food and feed supply chain warned that “any further delays by the EU Commission will result in a suicidal situation for European growth.”(2014)
- Time for the Commission to Authorize Safe GMO Imports, EuropaBio (January 2015)
- Trade in Agriculture Factsheet, EuropaBio (2013)
EuropaBio is the European Association of BioIndustries. Our members are involved in research, development, testing, manufacturing and commercialisation of biotech products and processes in human and animal healthcare, diagnostics, bioinformatics, chemicals, crop protection, agriculture, food and environmental products and services. EuropaBio also counts a number of National Biotech Associations in its membership who in turn represent more than 1800 biotech SMEs.