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Polish minister calls for Europe-wide ban on GM crops

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 26.08.2011 12:55
  • Polish minister calls for Europe-wide ban on GM crops - 26.08.2011
Poland’s stance on genetically modified crops has been thrown into confusion after its agriculture minister called for a European-wide ban on GMO.


“We are now proposing to completely prohibit not only the cultivation of GM plants, but also imports of feed and food that is genetically modified,” Minister Marek Sawicki told TVP public television.

“And not just in Poland,” he added.

Sawicki’s remarks come just days after he criticized President Bronislaw Komorowski for vetoing a government bill on the registration of GM seeds, which was intended to bring Polish law in line with EU dictates.

The previous Law and Justice government passed a law in 2006 unilaterally banning the growing of GM foods and exports of seeds. The European Commission consequently referred Poland to the European Court of Justice for passing a law at odds with Brussels directives.

President Komorowski, though not against GM on principle, said this week that the ‘seed bill’ did not in fact sufficiently clarify the issue and declared the law “legal junk” and sent it back to parliament.

Now Minister Sawicki says that the EU should ban GM across the 27-nation bloc.
“Here indeed is a task for the Minister of the Environment, to introduce such an initiative under the umbrella of the Polish Presidency [of the EU Council], and we will support him.”

Opinion polls have shown the general public suspicious of the technology.

Opponents of GM claim that the technology could be harmful to the environment and human health, though studies have consistently failed to find such a link.

Proponents of GM say that it could greatly increase yields at a time of rising food prices and would abolish the need to use harmful fertilizers against pests.

Currently a type of maize called MON 810 is the only GM food cultivated commercially in the EU.

A GM type of potato harvested for industrial starch, called Amflora, is also allowed.

Last summer, however, the European Commission proposed that each of the 27 nations in the EU should be allowed more flexibility in drawing up GM legislation. (pg/nh)

Audio by John Beauchamp

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