EU needs GM food, scientists say


The European Union’s bid to keep genetically modified foods at bay risks causing economic ruin by forcing the bloc to depend on the outside world for food, scientists said Thursday.

In a review paper published in the journal Trends in Plant Science, scientists in Britain and Spain said that well-intentioned EU policies have backfired, thwarting innovation and stifling the small farmers they aimed to protect.

“What has emerged is a fragmented, contradictory, and unworkable legislative framework that threatens economic disaster,” said the article.

Europe has endorsed a strategy that calls for separation of conventional and genetically engineered crops so as to offer consumers and farmers a choice.

But coupled with “haphazard implementation of these measures without coordination or a rational scientific basis,” it amounts to a de facto moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops such as corn, cotton and soybeans, the scientists said. As a result, European nations are forced to import those products.

A similar dilemma was pointed out with pesticides. “The EU has banned many pesticides, but approves the import of food products treated with banned chemicals,” said the article.

Efforts to suppress genetically engineered agriculture are “ideological rather than scientific,” and are leading to the increasing isolation of the European Union on the global scale, it said.

  • Genetic Manipulation (GM) scientists have no special expertise in social, ethical or economic issues, but have conflicts of interest. Europe is the leader, not follower. 28 countries grow some commercial GM crops (45% in the USA, over 90% in the Americas, mostly Monsanto patents) but 160 countries and 60 dependent territories grow no GM at all. The GM soy, corn, canola and cotton that Monsanto launched in 1996 (plus their sugarbeet in USA since 2011) have 2 new single gene traits – herbicide (Roundup) tolerance and Bt insect toxins. The same 4 broad-acre GM crops with 2 traits are still 99% of GM crops grown now. Most GM products go into animal feed or biofuels as people do not want to eat them, especially when given good information on food labels, as in Europe. Promises of other more complex traits – drought and salt tolerance, nitrogen fixing grains, more nutritious foods, longer shelf life, etc. will not arrive, as cutting and pasting several genes with crude GM techniques is impractical. GM crops and animals are a waste of time and money. Let’s move on.

  • John

    Yes the EU clearly should ban imports of GM soy contaminated with roundup that causes a lot of problems for animals that eat it and get sick. People in europe are being poisoned with meat and dairy products contaminated with roundup.