Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No Change of European Union’s Rules on GMO Crops

A French environment minister said a review of the European Union's procedures for vetting genetically modified crops does not imply the policy will undergo far-reaching change.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, secretary of state for ecology, at an informal meeting of the EU's 27 environment and energy ministers outside Paris, said that they are not fundamentally questioning the European system, or looking to overhaul procedure. She said the overall aim was to improve rules already in place. In addition, she said there remain doubts, about an insufficient number of long-term impacts and evaluation, and a need for more transparency.

The consumption of foods made from genetically modified organisms (GMO) is a thorny issue in Europe. Opinion polls show majorities of Europeans have health fears or environmental concerns about the novel crops without giving any further details, Kosciusko-Morizet said some EU nations have requested authorization to declare certain regions "GMO-free”.

France, which began its six-month presidency of the EU on July 1, called earlier this year for a review of GMO policy. A new working group has been set up and is scheduled to deliver its findings in December. One recommendation put to the ministers was to change the status of the experts in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and to toughen up the standards for authorizing transgenic foods.

Now, EFSA gives a scientific opinion about GMOs that are seeking approval to enter the market. Then, it submitted to member states that decide whether to allow the new product. On the other hand, because member states are usually split on authorizing GMOs, the decision reverts to the European Commission, which in turn usually follows EFSA's opinion. France has banned the growing of a GMO maize variety produced by the US group Monsanto, the only genetically modified crop grown within the EU, mainly in Spain.

Read also: China to Focus on Genetically Modified Crop Development

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1 comment:

Nemo said...

I would rather eat real food; who knows how much time will pass before the effects of GMO crops are really seen.

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