Division over GMOs intensifies as EU officials strike down opt-out clause

A draft law proposed last spring allowing individual European Union member countries to opt-out of growing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was shot down by the European Parliament recently in Strasbourg, France.

“In a Strasbourg plenary vote Wednesday [October 28] afternoon, 579 of 751 MEPs said the Commission should withdraw it, which the Commission refused to do. Following the Commission’s refusal, the plenary voted again, inching towards unanimity, with 619 MEPs rejecting the plan,” reports the EUobserver.

The decision is a major setback for countries wishing to protect their land and people from the harm caused by growing and consuming GMOs. As of early October, nineteen out of 28 EU member countries have decided to optimize the “opt-out” provision, banning GMO cultivation in their country.

The decision highlights an intensifying struggle between GMO skeptics and the powerful biotech industry as they continue pushing their destructive products into the region. As of 2014, only one GMO crop was approved for cultivation in the EU, Monsanto’s MON810, a variety of corn that’s mostly grown in Spain.

EU officials side with biotech companies, ignoring consumer hatred towards GMOs

However, that may change as Monsanto and other biotech giants have pressured EU officials to reject the opt-out clause, which allowed member countries to ban GMOs despite having EU approval. The opt-out draft proposal was created in April after four years of deliberations about whether or not to allow individual member countries to decide if they wish to grow GM crops.

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Officials with the European Parliament said allowing countries to individually ban GMOs would violate “EU free-market rules,” according to Bloomberg, with the Associated Press reporting that lawmakers felt it could “force a return to border controls” and create chaos for consumers and farmers.

The latter excuse is eerily similar to the reasoning given by opponents of GMO-labeling in the U.S., which is, that it would supposedly create mayhem among consumers. However, that’s an absolute insult to the American public and nothing more than a psychological manipulation tactic routinely used by Big Agra.

Monsanto knows no borders

EUobserver reports that GMO-pushers said “the Commission’s plan was written off from left to right as ‘wrong’, ‘a serious mistake’, ‘half-baked’, ‘shoddy work’, full of ‘legal loopholes’ and posing a ‘risk of undermining the single market’.

“MEPs could not see how national governments could ban GMOs that are allowed in other EU states, since there is freedom of movement in the bloc.”

The European Parliament’s decision to reject the opt-out clause is more about eliminating obstacles for powerful seed companies, so they can import their products and move them freely across the EU. Essentially, Monsanto knows no borders.

Prior to the vote, food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis “pleaded with MEPs to embrace the plan, because otherwise it would be a ‘lost opportunity to give a concrete answer to a genuine and legitimate concern of European citizens, which undermines not just the GMO authorisation system, but also confidence in the EU itself.’”

“I would like to confirm the commission believes this proposal is the right way of addressing the challenges in relation to the decision-making proces [sic] on GMOs at European Union level. The commission will not withdraw its proposal,” said Andriukaitis.

GM cultivation has proven to be a hotly debated topic in the EU, often resulting in a split decision regarding GMO regulations.

Contention over GMOs increased even more after the World Health Organization declared that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic.” Glyphosate is the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, the most widely applied herbicide in the world.

In early June, Andriukaitis said: “Member states could not draw the line between Yes or No for GMOs, de facto leaving it to the commission to decide.”










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