German GMO opt-out move welcomed

Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament and member of the Agriculture Committee, has welcomed the move by Germany to stop the growing of genetically modified crops under new European Union rules.

Germany will make use of new "opt-out" rules to stop GMO crop cultivation, even if varieties have been approved by the EU.

A new EU law (approved in March) cleared the way for new GMO crops to be approved but also gave individual countries the right to opt out by banning GMO crops. Previously, when the EU approved crops as safe to produce they had to be permitted for cultivation in all EU states.

The move by the German federal government follows pressure from five state governments for a nationwide ban on GMOs instead of the current “patchwork” approach which leaves it up to German states to decide on a ban.

Alyn Smith said:

"I am pleased to see that major European countries are following Scotland's lead on this issue. The more countries that make use of the opt-out on cultivation provided by European law, the better chance we have of preventing contamination of organic and conventional crops across Europe.

"The international appeal of Scottish food and drink is based on our hard-won reputation for clean, green, natural produce and with continued extreme public scepticism on GM crops we would be foolish to put this at risk."