Think Europe’s halting GMOs? It could be heading for more

To match Special Report USA-GMOS/REGULATORS

The full article by Sybille de la Hamaide and Barbara Lewis was originally written for Reuters

The large number of European countries opposing GMO cultivation may have given the impression the bloc is putting a brake on GMOs but with new crops queuing for approval and key countries leaving the door open, output is more likely to grow than wane.

Nineteen out of 28 EU member states have requested opt-outs for all or part of their territory from cultivation of Monsanto’s MON810, the sole GMO crop already approved for cultivation, or for pending applications.

They were using a law signed in March giving countries opposed to the technology the right to seek exclusion from any approval request for GMO crop cultivation even if strains have been approved at EU level.

Although widely grown in the Americas and Asia, public opposition is strong in Europe against GMO crops, which have had their DNA altered, often by introducing genes from a different species to boost their resistance to pests or herbicides.

France, among the most vocal opponents to the technology and the bloc’s largest grain grower, has banned Monsanto’s MON810 maize strain since 2008, citing “serious doubts” it was safe for the environment.

It was among the first countries to use the opt-out scheme to ensure its ban remained in place, followed by other large maize growers such as Italy, Hungary and Germany.

Monsanto, which says its maize is harmless to humans and wildlife, asked that its 10-year clearance be renewed and seven new maize strains developed by DuPont Pioneer, Dow Chemical and Syngenta are in the approval process.

Read more via Reuters
Think Europe’s halting GMOs? It could be heading for more