Europe triumphs at kicking the GM ball into the long grass
17.03.2015 - You would have to be blind, deaf and living in a hole for the last twenty years to not know that Europe struggles with the whole GMO thing.
Despite a mountain of scientific evidence behind the safe cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops, the PR bomb dropped by Monsanto all those years ago changed Europe forever, resulting in one of the few areas where a belief in witchcraft seems to carry more weight than scientific evidence.
And the European Parliament has recently achieved the questionable triumph of ensuring that superstition at national level can override scientific review at European level. In November, it backed a plan to allow nations to ban GM crops on their soil, even if they are given approval to be grown in the European Union. This of course means that Europe can proudly approve crops and claim to be at the forefront of food production, while individual countries can proudly tell their voters that they continue to ban the evil that is GM and keep their children safe.
I am no fan of multi-national company shenanigans in their corporate dealings and they can indeed do a professional job in looking shifty, but why not address the company problems directly rather than punishing the science? The problem in preventing cultivation of GM crops, and also preventing their import, goes far beyond the claimed negative environmental impact.
The European agricultural system is incredibly important in food security, cultural identity and also gives us the landscape that we know so well today. It is under immense pressure to produce food at lower costs and with reduced pollution, while maintaining the incredibly high food standards rightly required for consumers (all of which GM technology enables). If you prevent European farmers from raising crops (and animals fed on those crops) with the same resources available to every other farmer in the world, then they will not be able to compete in a very global market. European citizens already use and consume products from genetically modified plants, created outside Europe, and if they make their farmers operate with one arm tied behind their backs, they can expect to eat and use a lot more, because there will be far fewer farmers in Europe.
It comes back to science (as usual) and the big picture behind Europe continuing to resist GM technology within its own agricultural system, despite the fact that it is happy to eat the products. GM crops allow more efficient production, and that means fewer resources required in today's intensive agricultural systems. The environmental impact of farming is immense, whatever the production system, so anything that can reduce inputs required is good for everybody. It is a huge pity that national governments have spoken with a false voice through the European Parliament and put short term votes over the long term positive impact of biotechnology on European agriculture, environment and economy.http://www.european-biotechnology-news.com/people/heard-in-brussels/2015/europe-triumphs-at-kicking-the-gm-ball-into-the-long-grass.html