Bio-Hazard Ahead

New legislation to allow member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of GMO crops was passed earlier this month.

According to the EU press release;

Before a member state may adopt such measures, the legislation provides for a procedure enabling the GMO crop company to consent to such restrictions on its marketing authorisation. However, if the company disagrees, the member state may impose a ban unilaterally.

How many GMO companies are likely to consent to any restrictions on their unfettered expansion into the European market? The process is riddled with loopholes and can be challenged in a number of ways. In addition, the Directive only relates to GMO cultivation – and not to GMOs in products, their transport or research.

This is a huge victory for the GMO giants, and we can expect to see a rapid introduction of crops as soon as this spring. The UK, as one of the staunchest advocates for this rule change, is expected to lead the way on cultivation.

Another survey has shown that only 21% of the UK public support GMO. If public support is so low, why is the government so determined to press on with cultivation regardless?

The incremental introduction of GMO has gone largely undetected, but it is now at a point where none of the major supermarket chains can guarantee that their meat livestock are GMO feed-free.

The Soil Association study, Silent Invasion: The Hidden Use of GM crops in livestock feed found that:

The safety of using GMOs in food production is now of real concern as a growing number of published scientific studies are finding a range of serious health impacts from GMO consumption on animals. These include lesions in the gut, damage to body organs, unexplained deaths, and stunted growth in the young of animals reared on GMOs. This means that there are important animal health and welfare concerns over the use of GM feed; there are also concerns about possible long-term effects on people.

Given these concerns, it is understandable that the public supports the clear labelling of GMO product, and food derived from GMO feed, yet the Soil Association found that most farmers themselves weren’t sure whether their feed was GMO or not. If you are unable to make an informed decision as to the provenance of your food, then what choice do you really have?

Recent attempts to introduce GMO labelling in the US were met with stiff resistance from the industry. The big biotech companies excused their refusal to label by claiming that it would be too costly, and cause too much confusion for sonsumers.

Those consumers who recall BSE, and the myriad other food and livestock scandals of recent decades, might argue that it would be far costlier in the long run to iignore the risks and to plough on with widescale cultivation.

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