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Environmentalists Up in Arms After European Union Relaxes Rules on Genetically Modified Plants


Lawmakers on the European Parliament’s environment committee have backed a proposal to relax rules on genetically modified plants produced using new genomic techniques, prompting strong criticism from environmental groups.

[Image source: Adobe Stock]


This is not the first time that the European Union (EU) has moved to loosen rules on genetic modification against the wishes of its citizens. In 2014, for example, by approving the cultivation of genetically modified corn (maize) in Europe, the construct’s Council of Ministers clearly demonstrated that the EU primarily represents corporate interests. The corn, produced by the American chemicals giants Du Pont and Dow, was approved despite a majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) having voted against it. Surveys had also shown that an overwhelming majority of people across Europe were opposed to genetically modified foods.

In 2018, the European Commission, Europe’s executive body, subsequently approved a further five genetically modified crops for use in food and feed. Developed by Monsanto and Syngenta, the crops included four types of corn and one variety of sugar beet. Surveys continue to show a majority of European consumers want to see compulsory labelling on food products containing genetically modified crops.

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