Poland bans cultivation of GM crops
By Joanna Sopinska | Monday 07 January 2013
Poland has become eighth EU member state to ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as safe. This would affect two crops, which are at the moment authorised for cultivation in the EU: Monsanto’s MON810 maize and BASF’s Amflora potato. A decision to this end will enter into force on 28 January.
Warsaw has invoked a ‘safeguard clause’ that allows individual member states to ban the cultivation of GM crops provided they prove that these may be harmful. Justifying its decision, the Polish Agriculture Ministry cited concerns that GM crops may cross-pollinate with non-GM crops and MON810 maize pollen may find its way into honey. The ministry also pointed to the absence of scientific assessments confirming that GM crops are safe for the environment and people. After approving a new law, on 2 January, the government has to notify its decision to the European Commission. The notification has to include a scientific justification of the ban.
“The government has delivered on its promise,” Greenpeace Poland’s ‘Stop GMO’ campaign coordinator Joanna Mis said in a statement. “We are happy that Poland has joined the club of countries that ban the cultivation of GM crops. However, this is not the end of our campaign. We have to make sure that the European Commission does not manage to lift the ban […]. We also have to make sure that crops will be effectively controlled and the ban on cultivation observed,” she added.
Seven other EU member states have already imposed bans on the cultivation of GM crops approved by the EFSA as safe: Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece and Bulgaria. The Commission put forward, in July 2010, a proposal to allow member states to ban or restrict the cultivation of GM crops. However, it has been blocked in Council until now.