Europe at odds over GM

EU - GM crops are likely to be a continuous dividing factor in the EU, a meeting between environment ministers showed last week.
calendar icon 8 November 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

While the European Commission has called for Austria to lift its ban on two GM maize products, EU heads of state have failed to come to an agreement.

Representing the United Kingdom, Hilary Benn, Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs voted for an end to the Austrian ban, backed by three other member states voting from a scientific perspective: Sweden, Estonia and the Netherlands.

The Grocer magazine recently quoted Mr Benn as saying: "The sensible approach is to consider GM crops on a case- by-case basis, provided the evidence shows they are safe for human health and the environment. Ultimately it will be for farmers and consumers to decide whether they want GM products."

At Council, Italy was one of the member states to signal a strong opposition to the UK's position, criticising the capacity of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to make sound evaluations of GM crops.

The Italian outburst was a thinly veiled attempt to incur further delays to GM approvals, which would have serious consequences at a time when the EU is becoming increasingly concerned about feed and food supplies.

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