125657 217137 2

Agrochemical companies find loopholes

27 April Apr 2016 1752 27 April 2016
  • ...

In Europe, GMOs are hugely unpopular, with most people rejecting them and governments banning them. However, agrochemical companies are finding loopholes, and now claiming that GMOs which are produced through a range of new techniques called gene-editing don't in fact count as GMOs at all.

"People in Europe have massively rejected GMOs, and our governments have started to ban their cultivation, but agro­chemical companies have cooked up a new way to get GMOs onto the European market. They are claiming that GMOs which are produced through a range of new techniques ­aren’t in fact GMOs." says Greenpeace blogger Franziska Achterberg.

At the moment, European law requires that GMOs are properly labelled, allowing consumer choice. However, if the companies win, GM plants and animals could soon end up on our fields and plates without any safety testing or labelling - and without any way to ban them.

"The European Commission said that it would publish a legal opinion to tell national governments what’s in and what’s out of EU GMO law. Internal documents obtained under freedom of information rules reveal that the Commission was set to confirm that the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) produced through new techniques referred to as gene-editing are covered by the law. This means that they would need to undergo safety testing and labelling before being placed on the market," continues Achterberg

Why didn’t the European Commission publish the opinion as planned?

"Well, it seems that not only the GMO companies, but also the US government, lobbied heavily so that the Commission wouldn’t classify gene-edited plants and animals as GMOs. These new GMOs are largely unregulated in the US, which is why a letter from the US warned of “potentially significant trade disruptions” from the application of EU GMO law. It suggests that the EU should ignore its health and environmental safeguards to pave the way for a new transatlantic trade agreement (TTIP)."

To sign the Greenpeace petition called 'No more GMOs through the back door', click here

For Franziska Achterberg's full blog post for Greenpeace, click here

Photo credits: Greenpeace/Vincent Rok

Related news