The debate around the use and study of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is so complex that frequently people miss that the outcome of some political/social/economic decisions are taken in such a way that the legal/agricultural/medical coherence is lost. The purpose of this text is to underline the contradictions in the European approach to GMOs, when for the past 20 years the European Union (EU) has been using and importing GMOs but rejecting its study or cultivation.
The approach follows the distance among public declarations against GMOs from most of the political representatives, followed by decision on our health, nutrition and economic development going exactly in the opposite direction. The arrival of the new genome-edited plants cannot solve all requirements, as in many cases an entire new function should be added and, at present, this will be again a GMO irrespective to the technique used to add a new gene. The delay in taking these decisions are now posing a hazard on the cultural and economic development of the EU.
The laws (directives) on GMOs in the EU are far too restrictive and suffer from an over-regulation that prevent any attempt to come to a science-based approach on genetically modified (GM) plants. The basis for the definition and the restrictions is on the technology and not on the final product. However, on the other hand, the GMOs are the only product where the safety analysis is on the final product (which is not the case for organics productions). The paradox is that all restrictions are concentrated on GM plants to be cultivated in Europe, as if the main hazard would be on the environmental impact of local cultivation. Meanwhile, the EU has no concern if the same environmental damage happens abroad and EU is the final user of the technology as 68 different GMOs are imported and used even for human consumption in Europe.
Fighting against the EU over-regulation would appear to be a position supporting multinational seed companies (none of them based in the EU), described as polluters. The proposed approach is the opposite, asking for a more restrictive regulation to show to the consumers that: most local EU high quality food products are derived from GM-fed animals; GM cotton is potentially far more risky than any GM food; and reducing GM plants cultivated in Europe increases the pesticide sold by chemical companies (mostly based in the EU).
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited