The European Parliament (EP) has rejected the GMO food and feed “opt-out” proposal, as originally tabled by the European Commission, to great acclaim and “relief” from Europe’s farm and feed industries.
MEPs, who voted on the draft EU law on Wednesday, were concerned that it might prove “unworkable” or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries, according to a statement issued by the EP.
Thrown out by a massive majority of 577 to 75, with 38 abstentions, the draft law now goes back to the EC for it to “table a new proposal”.
The rejection has been warmly welcomed by farm and feed leaders, with a joint statement, backed by 13 different food and feed bodies, published by Copa-Cogeca, declaring “relief” concerning the EP decision.
“Providing member states with the possibility to impose national bans on EU-approved GMOs is in clear contradiction with the core principles of the EU’s internal market,” it was stated. “By allowing scientific findings on the safety of products to be plainly overruled by non-science-based restrictions to the free movement of goods, the Commission would be setting a dangerous precedent that would severely undermine the reliability of the European food and feed chain.
“EU food and feed chain partners reiterate their call for a properly functioning and evidence-based EU policy on GMOs as a key element to secure the development and availability of innovative products to the benefit of consumers. We also call for a dedicated debate to address the relevant issues involving biotechnology and GMOs.”