The European Commission has unveiled plans to allow the production of GM crops in certain member countries. Both sides of this controversial issue are critical of the decision, but it seems like a win for GM companies and supporters more than anyone else.
The European Commission introduced plans this week that would give individual member states the authority to decide for themselves whether or not to allow genetically modified (GM) crops to be grown in their country. The responses are varied, but no one seems very supportive.
GM Groups Unhappy with the Proposal
GM groups are upset because they think with only some countries using GM crops (most likely Spain and the Netherlands, to start) farmers in other countries will be at a competitive disadvantage. Or, in other words, they think everyone should start using GM crops (not just the countries who choose to).
I think the competitive disadvantage argument is a little shortsighted, given that numerous problems are arising from the use of GM crops in the US and they are not fulfilling all of their theoretical potential anyway (I think I will write a future post on this issue). Plus, there are still serious health concerns and, as is evidenced by the years of resistance to GM crops in the EU, many Europeans are opposed to them and may choose not to buy GM foods when given the opportunity.
Anti-GM Groups Even More Unhappy with the Proposal
Anti-GM groups are predictably opposed to this decision because it circumvents the strong opposition of many countries to producing GM crops for commercial use in Europe at all.
“The proposals, which still have to be approved by the European Parliament and council of member states, are designed to end a decade-long deadlock that has seen EU attempts to approve certain GM crops for use repeatedly blocked by countries opposed to the use of GM,” Business Green reports. But approving GM crops in any member states is not ending a deadlock. It is actually giving the win to GM companies and supporters.
“While the European Commission is seemingly offering countries the right to implement national bans, in reality the proposal aims to do the opposite – opening Europe’s fields to GM crops,” said Friends of the Earth Europe’s food campaigner Mute Schimpf. “The Commission continues to fail to protect Europe’s food and feed from contamination by GM crops, and we urge countries to reject this deal as it stands.”
This could be the start of major agricultural changes in Europe. We will see if the European Parliament and council of member states decide to approve this proposal or not.
Photo Credit: live w mcs via flickr