On January 13, the European Parliament will vote on the GMO opt-out proposal. If approved, it will give member states the possibility of limiting or banning the cultivation of genetically modified crops on their territory.
This news is only partly positive for Slow Food. An analysis of the proposal text highlights some serious weaknesses and raises legitimate doubts. Here is the summary of the main critical points that were examined:
• The proposal is too vague regarding the environmental motivations that member states can use to justify a decision. This gives room for disputes by the agro-industrial sector in front of the Court of Justice, notwithstanding the socio-economic motivations that a member state can use to motivate its decision, mentioned in the text.
• The ban or limitation of the cultivation of a GMO on the territory of a state cannot stop the free circulation of the given GMOs in the territory of the country that banned it.
Slow Food expresses concern that the prohibition to impede the free circulation of GMOs authorized in the EU (as raw material, feed or food), included in the proposal, might be used to argue that compulsory labeling (foreseen by Reg. EU 1830/2003) is an obstacle to free circulation – whilst it is in fact the basic and necessary support for the freedom of the choice of citizens.
This is an ethical issue that deserves full recognition. For instance, according to EU regulation 1169 of 2011, citizens are recognized as bearing the right not to consume products of animal origin, with all relevant information now provided to ensure the fulfillment of this right. Likewise, citizens should be able to continue to choose whether or not to consume GMOs, and should be equally informed to be able to do so.
For further information, please contact the Slow Food International Press Office:
Paola Nano, +39 329 8321285 [email protected]