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European Parliament rejects draft law prohibiting sale and use of GMO foods

Published 30 October 2015

The European Parliament rejected a draft law which would have allowed EU member states to prohibit or restrict the sale and use of EU-approved GMO foods or feed on its territory.

GMO foods

The EU members fear that the law might not be viable as it might lead to border checks between pro and anti-GMO countries and hence are urging the Commission to craft a new proposal.

The draft law was prepared by the EU Commission on 22 April 2015.

The EU members states are worried that the law might not work or may lead to reintroduction of border checks between countries in favour of GMOs and those that oppose. Therefore, they urged the Commission to table a new proposal.

Giovanni La Via, who chairs the 751-seat assembly's environment panel, said: "Today's vote gave a clear signal to the European Commission. This proposal could turn on its head what has been achieved with the single market and the customs union."

"Over the last few months, serious concerns have been expressed about the lack of any impact assessment, the proposal's compatibility with the single market, and also whether it is actually feasible. There was no evaluation of the potential consequences or of other available options," La Via added.

"I believe that this proposal could have negative consequences for agriculture in the EU, which is heavily dependent on protein supplies from GMO sources. It could also have indirect negative effects on imports. Finally, there are concerns over whether this proposal could even be implemented, because there are no border controls in the EU," he concluded.

The move to reject the proposal was approved by 577 votes to 75, with 38 abstentions.

Earlier this month, Representatives of Missouri's agriculture and food sectors approached Capitol Hill to urge passage by Congress of a uniform, national labeling standard for foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The US House of Representatives passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act in July by a significant 275-150 bipartisan vote, with 45 Democrats voting yes. That legislation would ensure that consumers have access to the same science-based information regardless of which state they shop in instead of different state mandates. It would also create a national GMO-free certification program that would provide consumers who prefer GMO-free foods a consistent means of identifying those products.

Image: European Parliament rejects proposal that would prohibit use of GMO foods. Photo: Courtesy of Suat Eman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.