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New legislation to allow flexibility for EU countries to ban GMO crops

December 5, 2014

New legislation to allow EU member states to restrict, or ban, the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their own territory, even if it is allowed at EU level, were agreed by Parliament and Council delegations on 3 Dec.

The approved text would entitle member states to pass legally binding acts restricting or prohibiting the cultivation of GMO crops even after they have been authorised at EU level.
The new rules would allow member states to ban GMOs stating environmental policy objectives as a justification.

These objectives would relate to environmental impacts other than the risks to health and environment assessed during the scientific risk assessment. Bans could also include groups of GMOs designated by crop or trait.

Buffer zones/cross-contamination –
Member states should also ensure that GMO crops do not contaminate other products, and particular attention should be paid to preventing cross-border contamination with neighbouring countries, the agreement says.

The informal agreement is to be discussed in the member states’ Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) on 10 December and still needs to be backed by Parliament’s Environment Committee and the full House, as well as member states. The legislation is expected to be voted in plenary in January 2015.

See the full EU press release.