BRUSSELS: It is time for the EU to authorise GMOs as well as support science & innovation, says the Brussels-based advocacy group, Europabio.
The group is urging European decision-makers to play by the rules and endorse the evidence.
This is in view of the expected vote on March 27, by EU member states on whether or not to approve several safety-assessed genetically modified (GM) crops for cultivation or import.
“The EU must finally stop letting politics trump science on GMOs once and for all and give European farmers the choice to access safe and innovative GM products”, said Beat Späth (pix), Director of Agricultural Biotechnology at EuropaBio in a media statement.
For over 15 years the European Union has systematically failed to stand by science when it comes to GMOs, despite a multitude of opinions from its own food assessment agency reaffirming time and again the unquestioned safety of assessed products.
According to the group: “No other crops in the history of agriculture have undergone such rigorous safety testing before being placed on the market. Despite the highest level of scrutiny and the vast potential of GM crops to deliver countless benefits, ranging from improved drought tolerance in crops to improved nutritional profiles, product approval decisions in this area are constantly delayed and put into question.
“EuropaBio firmly believes that the most obvious and accessible generator of innovation, jobs and growth is the approval of safe new products, ensuring consumer safety and benefits while giving industry the consistency and predictability it requires to operate. To make this happen, the Commission must maintain a fully functional and predictable GM approval system, and must do more to defend the independent scientific advice of the bodies that it has developed for this purpose.
“Europe cannot afford to continue turning a blind eye both to the reality of its trade needs and to its need for innovation”, Beat Späth continued.
He added: “Factual information on GM crops from representative scientific organisations and public authorities, including EU bodies, is readily available. It confirms product safety and tangible benefits for farmers, including European livestock farmers, who rely heavily on imported GM crops for animal feed.
Decision makers who continue to cast these facts into doubt should explain why they endorse unfounded scaremongering instead”.
EuropaBio is taking its responsibility to communicate about biotechnology and GM crops, including on how each Member State typically votes on GM imports, and how many tons of GM soybeans each of them imports every year.
“We are providing even more context in our new pocket guide, which expands on GM crop benefits and related policies in the EU. As we take our responsibility as an industry, we call on EU decision-makers to take theirs.
“It is time to vote in favour of safe GM crops and to support science and innovation in agriculture.”
NOTE: EuropaBio (“The European Association for Bioindustries”) is Europe’s largest and most influential biotech industry group, whose members include Monsanto, Bayer and other biotechnology companies. The organisation was initiated in 1996 to represent the interests of the biotechnology industry at European level and therefore influence legislation that serves the interests of biotechnology companies in Europe.