The GM debate continues to rage across Europe and recent decisions in Brussels delivered a two pronged approach the first essentially granting states and regions more autonomy in banning GM crop production and greater protection against GM contamination. The second is a legislative change which the draft text seeks to grant legal certainty to member states on GM cultivation which may in the long term pave the way to allow more GM crop cultivation in Europe. The impact of these decisions will be monitored carefully by member states as the delivery of pubic goods to citizens needs to be put before the needs of agricultural corporations who are pushing the GM agenda.
“The collapse of the public dialogue set up by the Food Standards Agency in the UK last week as key personnel resigned from the panel stating that the FSA was promoting GM propaganda and incapable of carrying out an objective public consultation process highlights the extent to which pro GM groups have penetrated government bodies throughout the EU” stated Dr. Sinead Neiland Chairperson of IOFGA.
Co-existence of GM crops and conventional and organic crops is not possible and the continued promotion of GM crops needs to be reversed. The introduction of 800 genetically modified potato plants to a field in Norfolk in the UK in an attempt to make a more blight resistant potato ignores the fact that ordinary plant breeding has already given us numerous blight free potatoes the most successful being the “sharpo” variety. Contamination of GM crops is becoming more widespread just this week a GM variety of maize banned in the EU has been sown accidentally across Germany. The environmental group Greenpeace says NK603 has been planted on 3,000 hectares (7,410 acres) in seven states.
It is not clear how the contamination occurred, but it could cost farmers millions of euros, as crops will now have to be destroyed.
The Irish government outlined in its Programme for Government that the island of Ireland should be declared a GM free zone. This needs to be implemented immediately and then Ireland would be in an excellent position to supply Europe with GM free food because as the debates continue in Europe about GM crops the people of Europe are increasingly voting with their purses and purchasing food which does not have GM ingredients. It is an opportunity which Ireland should seize and use to its advantage.
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Development Officer IOFGA
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