|IFOAM EU PRESS RELEASE: Member States still reject GMO cultivation
Brussels, 27 March 2017 – Today, for the second time this year a majority of Member States voted against (1) the authorizations of two new GM crops and the licence renewal of the only GM crop currently approved for cultivation in the EU (2). The organic farming movement calls on the European Commission to withdraw these proposals.
Eduardo Cuoco, IFOAM EU Director, said: “Today’s vote shows once again that a majority of national governments does not support GMO cultivation in the EU. With the Member States and the European Parliament (3) not backing up the GMO authorization and with many European citizens expressing their skepticism towards GMOs, it is evident that the Commission’s proposal should be instantly withdrawn.”
Eric Gall, IFOAM EU Deputy Director and Policy Manager, said: “The strong growth of the organic market is a clear indication of the direction European citizens want agriculture to go. European agriculture benefits from its GMO-free status and it does not need GM crops, the cultivation of which will only create problems and additional costs for conventional and organic farmers. Authorizing products already banned in 17 Member States makes little sense and will certainly not make the Commission more relevant to European citizens.”
In case the European Commission decides to ignore today’s vote, put the ‘no opinion’ excuse on the table again and go ahead with the authorization it’ll be yet another sign that European procedures for GMO authorization need to be reformed. In that respect, IFOAM EU and other NGOs ask for a requirement to reach the qualified majority (4) for approval of a product or process falling under the EU’s general food law regulation, otherwise such a proposal should be withdrawn (5).
The European Commission’s final decision will have an impact on the organic and conventional GMO-free sectors. GMO cultivation heightens the risk of contamination of organic crops and increases costs for those farmers who want their crops to remain non-GMO. GMOs are not compatible with the principles of organic farming and are banned in organic production. They also increase the use of chemical herbicides which are forbidden in organic farming.
1. Results of the vote:
2. The European Commission proposes clearance for cultivation of two new maize varieties: GM Bt11 and GM 1507 and licence renewal for GM maize MON810. They all produce insecticide proteins, and Bt11 and 1507 are also tolerant to herbicides (gluphosinate).