Spuds of Controversy

05 Dec 2006

Europe continues to be divided over the issue of growing GM potatoes. The European Commission’s proposal to allow their cultivation for industrial use was neither passed nor vetoed, with the Committee voting 134 for, 109 against and 78 no-votes, thus failing to reach a significant majority. Italy voted against, France abstained whereas Germany and the United Kingdom approved the motion.

The GM potato, produced by the German biotech firm BASF, has a very high starch content and is more resistant to late blight, the fungus that devastated Ireland’s potato crop in the 1840 famine. The blight costs the UK’s farming sector 50 million pounds every year.

Trials in the United Kingdom have been approved Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). They are set to begin in the spring and will last five years. Friends of the Earth’s Clare Oxborrow stated: “These GM trials pose a significant contamination threat to future potato crops. We don’t need GM potatoes and there is no consumer demand for them. Even the county council and the food industry have raised concerns about the impact of these trials.” None of the potatoes grown in the trial will go into the food chain, but if the tests are successful, BASF will consider seeking permission to market, grow and sell the potatoes in Britain.

Source: The Guardian

Blog & news

Change the world through food

Learn how you can restore ecosystems, communities and your own health with our RegenerAction Toolkit.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Full name
Privacy Policy