GM move branded ‘dangerous precedent’ by NFU

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has branded the European Commission’s decision to let individual member states decide GM policy a ‘dangerous precedent’ as it threatens farmer choice.

Despite the move by the Commission to allow member states to choose if they want to allow the growing of GM crops, the NFU is worried that the announcement will also allow some countries to restrict or ban GM crop cultivation completely.

The NFU added it wanted to see an inclusive and transparent proposal for the future authorisation of GM crops that enables farmers and growers to have the choice of accessing the very best technologies available to their competitors across the world.

Dr Helen Ferrier, NFU chief science and regulatory affairs adviser, said: “Instead of giving reassurances to support an effective and rigorous authorisation process for GM across the EU, this proposal is all about enabling countries to ban the growing of GM crops.

“The NFU represents all methods of farming and growing and has always believed that any GM legislation should be based around sound science, rather than politics or emotional rhetoric. Ultimately, the market will decide if British growers use the technology.

“Effective coexistence is essential for farmers to make the choice between organic, conventional and GM. But the approach announced will cause serious problems with the internal market.”

Anti-GM groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace have also criticised the Commission’s ruling for “opening Europe’s fields to GM crops”.

Greenpeace policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer said: “The Commission failed four times to overturn national bans against GM crops and their poisonous agricultural model.

“Now, President Barroso is admitting defeat by presenting a compromise deal. In an attempt to muddle through with his pro-GM agenda, he is offering countries national bans if they turn a blind eye to the health and safety concerns they have about new crops during the EU authorisation process.”

>>EU to allow member states to decide own GM policy

>>Food Standards head slams anti-science GM culture

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