After years of legislative deadlock, EU ministers from 26 of 28 countries recently voted to allow member nations to determine for themselves whether to ban or allow genetically modified crops and foods. While it seems like a positive decision, many are unhappy, with some saying the decision opens the potential “floodgate” for GM crops to enter Europe.
The small country of Cyprus is one which will opt-out of GMOs, after a longstanding position against the crops. Environment Minister Nicos Kouyialis represented that country at the meeting, saying the compromise is a “very good basis for the adoption of an effective and legally binding tool to ban GMOs.”
Other nations that share his sentiment include France, Greece, and now Germany, who was initially opposed to such a flexible option in the EU. France has made numerous stands against GMOs and biotech giants, banning the cultivation of GMO seed. Greece is also firmly against GMOs, and ‘always has been.’
Like elsewhere around the world, Germany has seen its citizens demand GMO-free options. Similarly, organic and specialty stores have increased in popularity as consumers are wary of what they find in typical supermarket foods.
Many citizens in these overwhelmingly anti-GMO countries are particularly concerned about American foods making their way across the shores. It’s widely accepted as truth that food standards across Europe are more stringent than in the U.S., particularly where biotech-giants like Monsanto are concerned.
It’s this concern that has led many people to decry the EU compromise, worried that with GMOs allowed in some countries and not others, that they will inevitably find a way in. Further, they are worried the legislation gives companies like Monsanto the ability to challenge such GMO bans in court.
That doesn’t mean Monsanto is happy with the arrangement, though. On the contrary, they don’t want nations having the option to block their global takeover.
“This decision wouldn’t be so tragic-comic if it didn’t send such a bad signal to the rest of the world that it’s okay to ignore science and ban things for populist purposes,” said a spokesman for Monsanto. “The proposal makes clear that the EU’s objections to GM crops are political rather than scientific.”
Science, rather than popular opinions, may hold more weight in court as well; possibly giving these corporations the arguments they need to ultimately force their way in as biotech-funded junk science spews from organization after organization.