GMO battle moves back to court
Warsaw – Poland’s policy concerning genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has been challenged by the European Commission. In mid-March, the Commission sued Poland at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for establishing a ban on genetically modified feedstuff that is expected to come into force in 2013. The Commission said that Poland is “not entitled to unilaterally adopt a general prohibition to place GM feed on the market outside the procedures provided for in Regulation 1829/2003,” which establishes a single authorisation procedure and risk assessment by the EU’s food watchdog EFSA. The Commission’s move came one day after a meeting with EU environment ministers. At the meeting, seven member states had called for the right to adopt national GMO bans on their own if new environmental risks arise from GMO cultivation.
At the same time, Poland and other anti-GMO member states have sought ECJ guidance after being taken to court in national jurisdictions by GM-foods giant Monsanto for their cultivation bans. By mid-March, the Advocate General of the EJC, Paolo Mengozzi, clarified that member states “could not suspend the planting of genetically modified corn ... without having asked prior permission from the European Commission.“
Finally, the Commission also charged Poland for the incorrect implementation of Directive 2009/41/EC, which concerns genetically modified microorganisms. The Commission said Poland has failed to meet the Directive’s requirements to take all adequate measures to limit possible risk to human health and the environment.