Slow Food

Against the will of citizens and farmers, and overriding the sovereignty of Member States, the EU authorizes a GM potato

Italy - 02 Mar 10

The EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer policy John Dalli has approved the cultivation of the genetically modified 'Amflora' potato, produced by the German multinational BASF. The potato, modified to contain a higher percentage of starch, marks a step backwards in the approach adopted since 1998 by the EU, driven first and foremost by the precautionary principle. Commissioner Dalli has authorized the cultivation of the potato despite the fact that numerous environmental organizations have voiced concerns, that European citizens and farmers have come out on several occasions against GMOs and that the potato in question has a characteristic —resistance to an antibiotic— in direct violation of EU Directive 2001/18. Behavior of this sort only widens the gulf between the European Commission and the Member States, which are feeling increasingly less represented. "When BASF started to experiment with this GM potato,” comments Carlo Petrini, president of Slow Food International, “they said it would be used predominantly for industrial purposes, but the authorization now also includes its use in animal feed. This means that its antibiotic-resistant characteristic will also be introduced into the human food chain." "It is very serious,” he adds, “that this commissioner’s first action is to break an indisputable moratorium introduced precisely out of concern for our health. This demonstrates how the issue is being decided on the basis of the economic interests of the multinationals, without taking into consideration the as yet unknown dangers to public health. European citizens did not elect Dalli to represent them, but will now have to suffer the effects of his blatantly top-down decision. For its part, Slow Food will continue to oppose OGMs."