Quantcast
Food

Europe GMO Debate Not Over: EU Votes to Allow GMO Imports Despite Opposition

Despite a majority of the European Union officially saying “no” to growing genetically modified crops (GMOs) within their territories, the latest move from the European Parliament’s environment committee (Environment MEP) will likely leave the door open for the controversial products to continue entering the EU through imports.

On Tuesday, the Environment MEPs approved by 47 votes to 3 (and 5 abstentions) to reject the European Commission's proposal to give each member of the EU's 28-member bloc the power to ban the imports and sales of imported GMOs if they wish. The bill was similar to to the "opt out" law passed in March that allowed individual countries to abstain from growing crops already approved by the EU.

A plenary vote will take place on Oct. 28, but according to EU Observer, another rejection is expected.

The committee has effectively signaled to the commission to withdraw their plan.

Even though you won't see a lot of GMO-food products in the EU, "more than 60 GM crops are approved for import into the bloc," according to Reuters. A substantial portion of the EU's animal feed are genetically modified crops from North and South America.

"Around 30 million tons of grain are imported per year from third countries, including 13 million tons of soybeans, 22 million tons of soymeal, 2.5 million tons of maize, 2 million tons of oilseed rape and 0.1 million tons of cotton," says EuropaBio, a lobby group that represents the GM industry.

Reuters reported that the group has welcomed the vote and also wants the commission to withdraw the planned legislation.

According to a press release from the Environment MEP, members argued that the commission's proposal would be "unworkable" and "lead to the reintroduction of border controls between pro and anti-GMO countries."

“A clear majority in the committee does not want to jeopardize the internal market. For us, the existing legislation should remain in place, and member states should shoulder their responsibilities and take a decision together at EU level, instead of introducing national bans,” Environment Committee chair Giovanni La Via said in a statement.

“This proposal conflicts with the principles of 'better regulation' and transparency which the new European Commission has taken on board. After we spent so many years getting rid of internal barriers, this proposal could fragment the internal market and lead to a return to border inspections, which we all worked hard to get rid of at the time,” he added.

Earlier this month, a majority of the EU officially requested to opt-out of growing GMOs, especially Monsanto's GM maize, the only GMO crop approved for cultivation in the EU. Photo credit: Flickr

Other officials from Europe have lamented the move, saying the vote sends the EU "back to the drawing board" on GMOs.

“MEPs have today voted to send the commission back to the drawing board with its proposal to revise the EU system for authorizing genetically-modified food and feed," said Bart Staes, a Green MEP for Groen in Belgium, in a statement. "We would urge the commission to heed the result of today's vote and come forward with a new proposal that properly addresses the major flaws with the EU authorization process. So far, the commission has sought to blackmail MEPs by saying it will not make another proposal but the Parliament must stay strong and ensure the commission respects this democratic vote."

"There is definitely a need to reform the EU's GMO authorization process: we cannot persist with the current situation by which authorizations proceed in spite of flawed risk assessments and the consistent opposition of a majority of EU governments and, importantly, a clear majority of EU citizens," he added.

Although the EU has strict laws about GMOs (all 28 nations require GMO labeling), the contentious topic has divided the region. Some areas strongly are against GMOs (i.e. France, Germany) while others are more welcoming (i.e. Portugal, Spain).

This stark divide was recently reflected on Oct. 3, when the deadline to notify the European Commission to “opt out” of the growing GMO-crops within all or part of their territories passed. A total of 19 EU countries decided to ban the cultivation of GMOs, even if they are already authorized to be grown within the union.

The 19 countries are: Austria, Belgium for the Wallonia region, Britain for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.

These EU members were targeting Monsanto’s GMO maize, the only GMO crop approved for cultivation in the EU.

But with this latest move from the EU lawmakers, looks like the debate over GMOs in Europe is not over.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

2.6 Billion Pounds of Monsanto’s Glyphosate Sprayed on U.S. Farmland in Past Two Decades

Monsanto Fights Back Against Cancer Lawsuits as Company Eliminates 12% of Workforce

This Pennsylvania Community Is Determined to Ban GMOs and Pesticides

10 GMO Labeling Myths Busted

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Popular
Robert Vessels

Fly Fishing in Yellowstone: How One Veteran Found a New Life in the Outdoors

By Lindsey Robinson

Evan Bogart never wanted to sleep in a tent again. Between 2004-2011, he'd served in the U.S. Army as an infantryman and spent three long combat deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. He'd spent a good portion of his years in service living in a tent in hot and hazardous deserts. He'd had enough of the outdoors; he wanted to be in places with air conditioning, electricity and no reminders of the war-torn lands he had experienced.

Evan separated in 2011 as an E6 Squad Leader, with an honorable discharge and two Purple Hearts. But his own heart was heavy and troubled. He'd become disillusioned with the U.S. military and its goals in the Middle East. The violence and destruction he'd witnessed left him feeling both angry and guilty. He distinctly remembers one moment in Iraq: "An old woman told me I was a bad man, and I realized I agreed with her."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Make A Change World

How Two Brothers Convinced the Indonesian Government to Clean Up the World's Most Polluted River

By Gary Bencheghib and Sam Bencheghib

On August 14, we set out to kayak down the world's most polluted river, the Citarum River located in Indonesia, to document and raise awareness about the highly toxic chemicals in its waters and the masses of plastics floating on its surface.

We paddled a total of 68km in two weeks on two plastic bottle kayaks from the village of Majalaya, located just south of Bandung to Pantai Bahagia, the river mouth at the Java Sea. Each kayak was made of 300 plastic bottles to demonstrate that trash can have a second life.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

General Motors to Run Ohio, Indiana Factories With 100% Wind P​ower

By Greg Alvarez

Last week I predicted it wouldn't be long before we had more news on Fortune 500 wind power purchases. Well, a whole seven days passed before there were new deals to report.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts (S.C.U.T.E) unearthed three baby loggerheads after a nest inventory at Pawleys Island beach. Lorraine Chow

Sea Turtle Population Rebounding But Many Threats Remain

A new study published in Science Advances has found that most global sea turtles populations are recovering after historical declines.

The results from the analysis suggest that conservation programs actually work, and why we must defend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that protects vulnerable plants and animals, and is currently under attack by political and business interests.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
www.youtube.com

Baby Rhino Brings New Hope to India’s Manas National Park

A baby rhino spotted alongside its mother in Manas National Park, located in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, is an encouraging new sign that the rhino population in the protected area is on the upswing. The mother, named Jamuna, was rescued as a calf from Kaziranga National Park, located about 200 miles east of Manas and raised at the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation, a facility that cares for injured or orphaned wild animals run by Wildlife Trust of India/International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Assam Forest Department. She was moved to the Manas in 2008 as part of the country's rhino conservation efforts.

The calf is her second since 2013—a positive indication that despite concerns due to poaching of mature males, rhinos in Manas are reproducing.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Cedar Mesa Valley of the Gods in the Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Bob Wick, BLM

Navajo Nation Readies Legal Action if Trump Shrinks Bears Ears National Monument

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's recommendation to reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah could spark a legal battle between the Navajo Nation and the Trump administration.

"We are prepared to challenge immediately whatever official action is taken to modify the monument or restructure any aspect of that, such as the Bears Ears Commission," Ethel Branch, Navajo Nation attorney general, told Reuters.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Jilson Tiu / Greenpeace

Nestlé, Unilever, P&G Among Worst Offenders for Plastic Pollution in Philippines Beach Audit

A week-long beach clean up and audit at Freedom Island in Manila Bay has exposed the companies most responsible for plastic pollution in the critical wetland habitat and Ramsar site—one of the worst locations for plastic pollution in the Philippines.

The Greenpeace Philippines and #breakfreefromplastic movement audit, the first of its kind in the country, revealed that Nestlé, Unilever and Indonesian company PT Torabika Mayora are the top three contributors of plastic waste discovered in the area, contributing to the 1.88 million metric tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste in the Philippines per year.

Keep reading... Show less
GMO
www.youtube.com

Arkansas Plant Board Backs Dicamba Ban Next Summer in Blow to Monsanto

The Arkansas Plant Board has approved new regulations that prohibit the use of dicamba from April 16 through Oct. 31, 2018 after receiving nearly 1,000 complaints of pesticide misuse in the state.

Arkansas, which temporarily banned the highly volatile weedkiller in July, could now face legal action from Monsanto, the developers of dicamba-resistant soybeans or cotton and the corresponding pesticide, aka the Xtend crop system.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox