MEPs baulk at giving biotech firms a say on GM opt-outs

MEPs are reluctant to grant biotech firms a say in national bans on EU-approved genetically modified organisms it became clear during a European Parliament discussion this week.

Food Technology, Genetic Modification

MEPs say co-existence rules needed to back national GMO bans

A cross-party selection of MEPs agreed this week that strict co-existence rules are needed at EU level to enable member states to introduce effective national opt-outs and bans on cultivation of genetically modified organisms.

Food Technology, Genetic Modification, Policy

EU has bowed to lower standards in trade deal, says NGO

The NGO Friends of the Earth Europe has raised concern that the EU has allowed low levels of GMO contamination in food and seed under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. They say a similar deal wih the US – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – will act as a “Trojan Horse” for more GM food to enter Europe.

Genetic Modification, Free Trade Agreements, Americas

Commission 2014: Andriukaitis attacks GMOs’ effects on biodiversity

The anti-biotech camp appears to have a supporter in Commissioner-designate Vytenis Andriukaitis who at his 30 September parliamentary hearing hit out at the effects genetically modified organisms had on biodiversity.

Food Technology, Genetic Modification

The European Commission says that it can accept the latest proposals to give EU member states the right to ban EU-approved genetically modified (GM) crops. In a paper prepared for the European Parliament, the Commission outlines its views on the amendments put forward by EU Ministers in July and on changes proposed by Parliament in 2011, Agrow reports.

The EU should take “more targeted” action to prevent the uncontrolled spread of genetically modified insects, German NGO Testbiotech has said.

A review of EU rules on genetically modified organisms should occur within six months of the new European Commission taking office on November 1, according to the recently elected president of the European Commission.

The Commission appears to be hesitating about its potential new role as go-between in talks between biotech firms and Member States over national opt-outs from cultivating EU-authorised  genetically modified organisms, it emerged this week.

Plans by incoming Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to review European legislation on genetically modified organisms to allow the EU to reject applications for political and ideological reasons, could end up costing farmers more to feed their animals, a top official has warned.

MEPs of different political colours this week warned that the compromise deal struck at June’s Environment Council on proposals to allow Member States to ban cultivation of EU-approved genetically modified organisms could leave legal loopholes.

Campaigners are calling on MEPs to ensure that a future EU directive allowing national opt outs from cultivation of EU-approved genetically modified organisms offers “real rights to ban GM crops.”

“It is time to put aside irrational and non-science based fears of new technologies in the interests of consumers everywhere,” according to the head of the Food Standards Authority of Ireland, Alan Reilly.

Serbian acreage planted with GM crops has increased by 34% year-on-year to above 30 hectares in 2014, even though commercial cultivation of these crops in the country is not permitted by law, Serbian authorities told EU Food Law.

Croatia’s agriculture ministry has denied that Monsanto donated GM seed to Croatian farmers in the form of aid and added that the multinational company is not even considering such a move. The announcement was issued following questions from Croatian MEPs over possible GM seed entering Croatia in the form of flood relief assistance from Monsanto.