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Tuesday, 02 May 2017

EU nations should overcome GMO hypocrisy

Today in each EU nation, most people wear genetically modified (GM) cotton, and farm animals massively feed on imported GM soy. Yet many countries vote against import authorizations of the very same GM crops they depend upon: We import more than 60kg of GM soya for each of the EU’s 500 million citizens each year; on the other hand, most European farmers are banned from growing GM crops. The European Academies of Science have said: “There is compelling evidence that GM crops can contribute to sustainable development goals with benefits to farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy.” A recent Food and Agriculture Organization report confirms that agricultural biotechnologies can help small producers to be more resilient and adapt to climate change. Like safety authorities around the world, the European Food Safety Authority regularly confirms that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are as safe as conventionally bred crops. Yet, despite a 20-year history of safe GMO commercialization around the world on a surface that is bigger than the EU’s entire area of agricultural cropland, attempts to share information about GMO benefits are continuously marred by unsubstantiated allegations from anti-GMO interest groups. While the recent marches for science focused mainly on other issues, it is hard to find as striking an example for post-truth politics. In many parts of Europe, ideology regularly trumps science when it comes to GMOs.The fact is that countries such as France, Italy and Germany have not been supporting the approval of safe GMO products even for import, while other countries like Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria have been voting against these imports, even though their economies — and the EU’s economy — rely on GMOs. This voting behavior is the main reason why Europe has effectively expelled science and technology from Europe in this field. In addition, the lack of EU nations’ support for approving safe products is extending beyond the GMO precedent, and has seriously damaged trust — not just in innovation and product safety, but also in the EU’s institutions and processes.

Source: Politico