The European Parliament today voted to strengthen a draft EU law giving member states a new right to ban genetically modified (GM) crops from being grown in their territories.
Greenpeace welcomes this positive outcome, but warns that national bans are no substitute for thorough safety testing at EU level.
Greenpeace EU agriculture policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer said:
“The European Parliament today added real punch to draft laws to protect our farms and food. But let’s not forget that GM contamination doesn’t respect borders. National bans are no substitute for thorough safety testing at a European level, something the EU is failing to do so far.
We and a growing majority of the public remain seriously concerned about unanswered health and environmental questions around GM crops. Ecological farming is the correct response to the challenges of food security, climate change and long-term productivity.”
Greenpeace welcomed that parliament voted to:
- Strengthen the draft legislation by recognising environmental grounds for bans, including the development of herbicide resistant weeds and biodiversity impacts.
- Allow bans where a lack of information is preventing thorough safety testing. GM seed companies are notoriously secretive about their products.
- Changing the legal basis of bans from trade to environment, making any ban based on environmental grounds more robust if challenged in court.
- Oblige biotech companies to give access to the material necessary for independent research into GM risks.
- Have all countries take mandatory measures against GM contamination. In the event these measures fail, the committee voted in favour of having governments ensure that those responsible for the contamination pay damages.
- Call again on the European Commission to fully implement an earlier unanimous call by environment ministers to improve safety testing of GM crops at European level.
- Ensure that the precautionary principle is embedded in the right to ban.
- Give regions the right to ban GM crop cultivation.
The law still needs approval from a qualified majority of member states.