Earlier this month, environmentalists proposed a ban on GM corn seeds produced by U.S. companies DuPont Pioner, Down Agrosciences and Syngenta. Although in 2005 the products were ruled “unlikely to harm human and animal health or the environment” by the European Food and Safety Authority, recent studies show otherwise. According to Stavros Dimas, the EU Environment Commissioner, the seeds negatively impact butterflies, the food chain and rivers. Dimas describes “unexpected ecosystem-scale consequences” that will have long-term, irreversible affects.
Currently, the seeds are available on the European market for cultivation and are used to feed farm animals in part of central Europe. Monsato, also a variety of GM corn, is the only GM crop to be grown in Europe, but France, Austria, Greece and Hungary have recently banned it from cultivation.
The final decision to ban the seeds from the EU will be made by the European Commission. If the seeds are banned, it will be the first time the EU rejects an application for the cultivation of genetically modified crops. It might also contribute to the growing rift concerning trade between the EU and US.
The decision to ban the GM seeds would “be setting a precedent for EU officials to reject products based on non-verified scientific data” said Nathalie Moll, a spokesperson for Europabio.
Dimas, however, says that there is evidence that Bacillus Thuringiensis, a toxin present in the seeds, kills some insect varieties. While Moll sites that there has been a 77% increase in cultivation worldwide with the use of these seeds, corn makes up only 14% of European agriculture and so the European Commission is weighing the pros and cons carefully.
Source: International Herald Tribune