The European Parliament (EP) voted down the cultivation of a GMO crop called “GM Maize 1507” this week.
According to Sustainable Pulse, the vote was a “very emphatic political message to the biotech industry with 385 against the authorisation, 201 in favor, 30 abstentions.”
However, this win to vote the GMO crop down is only the first step, as full rejection of the crop in the EU will depend on votes from national governments this week.
If the maize crop was approved, it would be the first GMO maize allowed for farming in Europe since 1998. As Sustainable Pulse writes, “Back then, it was Monsanto’s infamous Bt-maize (MON810), producing its own insecticides. This time 1507 is also a Bt-maize, made by Pioneer, but one that has in addition been made tolerant to a powerful weedkiller (glufosinate-based, like Liberty). This weedkiller is classified as highly toxic by the EU.”
It seems the safety assessment required by the EU on the weedkiller has not yet been conducted, and there are, according to Sustainable Pulse, many problems with this GM maize. Since it produces its own insecticides, it could pose risks to butterflies and moths and there has been no research on its impacts to other beneficial insects such as bees and other pollinators.
Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, a German member of a committee opposing the crop, states, “Based on this proposal, we are clearly lacking evidence on the safety of this new GMO strain to have it on the EU markets.”
When asked about the future of GMO crops in Europe, Roth-Behrendt said, “The lack of evidence provided by the industry on the safety of new GM crops does not help to dispel EU citizens’ recurring doubts on GMOs. This is why for the time being the majority (61%), of Europeans are opposed to the development of GM food in Europe . They consider GMOs as not offering benefits, as unsafe, as inequitable and as worrying.”
The next round of voting on this crop begins this week.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons