The European Commission today announced it was approving 10 new genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for food or feed use and renewing 7 existing authorisations, as well as approving 2 new genetically-modified flowers (1). Criticising the decision, Green food safety spokesperson Bart Staes said:
“It is deeply cynical that the Commission is waving through the authorisation of 19 GMOs in the same week it formally acknowledged the fundamental flaws with the authorisation process and presented proposals to revise this. Giving the go-ahead to these GMOs is an affront to democracy: a majority of EU member states voted against the authorisation of almost all of these GMOs in Council and there is a clear and consistent majority of EU citizens saying no to GMOs. It is further democratic blow that these approvals were carried out by a simple and opaque written procedure, rather than by a formal decision of the Commission.
"Given Commission president Juncker himself acknowledged the need to reform the flawed and anti-democratic GMO authorisation system, it is hard to comprehend how the Commission is continuing to authorise GMOs under this system. It seems the Commission is just putting its fingers in its ears and doing the bidding of biotech corporations. However, this gung-ho approach to GMOs also has to be seen in the context of the EU-US TTIP negotiations and the long-running US campaign to force their GMOs onto the EU market.
"European citizens do not want GMOs. The Commission must stop ignoring this fact. We need an EU authorisation scheme that takes account of this opposition and we are concerned that this week's proposals from the Commission merely aim to make it easier to get GMOs authorised at EU level by providing member states with the 'carrot' of a legally-dubious opt-out."
(1) See the Commission statement: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-4843_en.htm?locale=en