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Organic Consumers Association

EU Agency Bans EU from Being GM-free

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Nations and regions which want to stay free of genetically-modified crops will be banned from doing so under a devastating ruling by EU scientists.

The decision, the first from the new European Food Safety Authority, means governments will be unable to stop the controversial plants being grown on their soil - effectively opening the floodgates.

It is a disastrous blow to those British consumers, farmers, politicians and green campaigners who are fearful about the safety of so-called Frankenstein foods.

The administrations in Scotland and Wales and many English local authorities - particularly in the South West - oppose GM crops.

Last night, Greenpeace warned Britain is being dragged into a vast and unpredictable experiment. Once commercial planting of GM crops is allowed, their pollen will spread and contaminate the entire countryside.

Former environment minister Michael Meacher has warned of gaping holes in our knowledge about the effect of GM on human health and the countryside. He has raised the possibility of damage to the immune system, sexual development and the stomach lining. There are also concerns about new allergies.

Separately, there are worries that GM pollen will taint conventional and organic farms. And research has pointed to the creation of superweeds.

Mr Meacher has called on the Government to postpone or ban commercial growing of GM crops here.

However, an EFSA scientific panel has now decided these are not sufficient reasons for any EU nation or region to choose GM-free status.

The ruling is on an application by Upper Austria to be declared a GM-free zone for all existing and planned GM crops or animals. The rejection of the application - to be officially published tomorrow - sets a precedent across Europe.

In effect, it means a farmer or biotech company will be allowed to grow GM crops virtually anywhere in the EU, regardless of public fears or political opposition.



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