Breaking News: Germany can Use ‘Opt Out’ to Ban GM Crops by September 11th

Breaking News: Germany can Use ‘Opt Out’ to Ban GM Crops by September 11th

Germany’s Agriculture Minister previously stated that the country would ban GM crops, and under new European Union rules referenced in a Ministry letter, Germany makes clear that it will make good on that promise.

This news comes just after Scotland told the world it would also ban GM crops due to the ‘opt out’ clause available to members of the EU. Scotland decided against GMOs because it didn’t want to put its entire food industry in jeopardy.

Now, Germany will heed what Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt said in a previously announced policy. The ministry letter, observed by staff from Reuters, states that German authorities have until September 11th to decide if their region wants to be included in the GMO ban.

The ‘opt-out’ policy is not without regulatory hiccups. As one study comments:

“After a reform is before another reform.” This paraphrasing of a famous saying from the world of football1 seems to be a very fitting way to describe the status quo of the European policy on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The functioning of the EU legal framework on GMOs has since its initial establishment in the 1990s been troubled by political disagreement, deadlocks in decision-making, strong public opposition in the Member States, and considerable delays in the process of authorisation of genetically engineered products on the internal market of the EU.

Despite previous reform efforts, especially the significant reshaping and tightening of EU rules in the period of 2001 to 2003, these problems still remain. This makes EU authorisation of GMOs one of the most controversial and politically intractable policy areas. At the same time the EU institutions experience considerable pressure from the biotech industry and the EU’s trading partners supported by the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to install a functioning authorisation system compliant with the EU’s internal market as well as WTO law.”

Nonetheless, this makes Germany one of between 64-74 countries (at biotech’s admission) that currently has instated some type of ban, or mandatory labeling requirements.