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Ending 2013: Genetically Modified Crops …

  • December 22nd, 2013
  • Posted by EU Australia

europefarm-landscapeA Court decision has opened a new fight over a relentless corporate drive to install genetically modified crops in European agriculture.

RELENTLESS DRIVE
The Greepeace organisation, 13.12.13, has drawn attention to a decision by the EU General Court annulling the authorisation of the controversial genetically modified (GM) potato in 2010.

The environmentalist group says it accused the European Commission of ignoring significant scientific concerns and disregarding dominant public opposition to GM crops, and it joined others in collecting one million signatures.

The BASF corporation began pressing for acceptance of the plant in 2007. It was proposed as a ‘industrial’ potato – sometimes called “black” potato- used to provide starch for various manufactured products, and had been made deficient in properties that would inhibit extraction of starch.

See EUAustralia Online: GMOs: Black Potato Getting Too Hot To Handle…, 19.7.07;
GM Foods: New Import Policy Starts, 2.8.10; GM Seeds: New Round In “Black Potato” Wars …, 4.9.10; GM Foods Deal Stumbling – Greenpeace, 21.12.10.

The European Commission has adopted the practice of judging such cases on strict scientific criteria, and once satisfied the particular potato did not pose a health risk, threw its weight behind letting it in.

MAIZE ALSO

europe corn-cobsNow Greenpeace says the process has been compromised and a new product being brought on, a breed of maize, should be stopped.

Interests in favour of GM include the benefits of crops resistant to pests and fungicides which have good weather tolerance and give a high yield; they point to competition from GM American crop delivering good quality cheaply, and say that the science is to be trusted.

Opponents point to strong consumer sentiment in favour of “natural” foods, especially in Europe where it extends to a cultural issues – preserving community life built around the enjoyment of cooking with local produce. They back the economic strengths of “clean and green” marketing, and scientific arguments are made, warning against tinkering with fundamentals, such as the genetic structure of organisms.

Greenpeace statement:

europe-farmsGreenpeace welcomes today’s decision … Given this ruling, Greenpeace calls on the European Commission to withdraw its recent proposal to approve the cultivation of GM maize 1507, the first such proposal since the GM potato was authorised. The ruling demonstrates that the Commission committed the same legal errors in pushing both authorisations.

BASF’s Amflora antibiotic-resistant potato was authorised by the Commission in March 2010. As a response, Greenpeace accused the Commission of ignoring significant scientific concerns and disregarding dominant public opposition to GM cropss.. .

In May 2010, Hungary brought an action for annulment of the Commission’s authorisation and soon after, France, Luxembourg, Austria and Poland intervened in the proceedings in support of Hungary.

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said: “Today’s legal judgment demolishes the Commission plans to rush through the approval of Pioneer-DuPont’s GM maize 1507 for cultivation. The Commission must withdraw its proposal, in line with EU legal requirements.”

The Court found that the Commission “significantly failed to fulfil its procedural obligations”.

As in the GM potato case examined by the court, the Commission did not ask the committee of national experts to vote on its proposal to approve GM maize 1507 after the European Food Safety Authority had issued new scientific opinions. Instead, it amended the proposal and sent it directly to the Council of Ministers. According to the ruling, the Commission should have resubmitted it to the member state committee.

Reference

Greenpeace Europe, Brussels, Commission should retract GM maize proposal after Court of Justice annuls authorisation of controversial GM potato, 13.12.13. www.greenpeace.eu, (21.12.13).

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