GM fight in the European Parliament

The European Commission today received a stinging blow from MEPs over “fatally flawed” proposals on GM food and feed.

Parliament’s Environment and Food Safety Committee followed the Agriculture Committee in voting to throw out the proposals to allow Member States to opt-out of EU authorisations for GM varietals for use as food or feed – a move welcomed by Alyn Smith MEP, Scotland’s representative on the Agriculture Committee.

Alyn said:

“This was a downright terrible piece of legislation from the Commission, and I’m pleased by the strong consensus we reached to reject it and tell the Commission to try again.

“Allowing Member States and regions the right to opt-out from authorising the cultivation of GM crops is, to a certain extent, controllable. But to opt-out from the circulation of food and feed would cause grave difficulties for the free flow of goods in the free market.

“The message is clear: we will not simply wave through bad legislation.” 

The Commission's proposal is in a similar vein to the recent, successful, proposal to allow Member State opt-outs for cultivation of GM crops, and was heavily criticised by all stakeholders, pro- and anti-GM alike, as unworkable, legally dubious from a World Trade Organisation perspective, and as a violation of the single market and the principle of free movement of goods without cumbersome border controls.

It was also not in line with the commitment given by President Juncker, in his manifesto before his nomination as President of the Commission, to democratise the authorisation process by taking into account the fact that overwhelming majorities of Member States routinely reject authorisations of GM varietals.