GMO agreement: A Stop Sign for Innovation
Licence to ban cultivation of GM crops a step backwards for the EU
Brussels, 2 March 2015 – “This license to ban cultivation of GM crops is a step backwards for the EU. It enables Member States to formally reject safe EU approved products, based on arbitrary and non-scientific reasons. Europe is already lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to GM crop cultivation, denying our farmers the freedom to choose”, said Beat Späth, Director of agricultural biotechnology at EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, commenting on the vote by the Council on genetically modified (GM) crops.
All serious existing evidence, after 19 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. The Commission regularly fails 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.
“The EU should focus now on unblocking the traffic jam of 13 safety-assessed GM products for import, which are currently waiting for Commission approval”, Späth said. Millions of farmers outside the EU, where they are granted the choice, choose to grow GM crops.“Without these imports EU livestock farming would collapse and the price of meat produced in the EU would increase. The GM products should be authorised without any further delay”, he concluded. 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.
- Positive scientific opinions by the European Food Safety Authority EFSA on 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)
- Infographic on the EU risk assessment; Brochure on product safety of GMOs, EuropaBio
- From leader to laggard, EuropaBio (January 2015)
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.