The European Union may simplify its import approval process for genetically modified (GM) foods and animal feed by allowing member states to decide whether to admit them.
Sources have said the European Commission will unveil proposals on April 22 to allow GM products in EU nations where previous opposition by certain member states led to bans. Recently, the European Parliament approved a rule that gave states the authority to ban the cultivation of GM crops even if they have been approved by the EU safety authority.
The rule could mean import licenses for 19 GM foods, feed and flowers could be cleared.
Only one GM crop, Monsanto’s MON819 corn, is allowed to be grown in the EU. About 50 GM products are marketed in the EU, mostly for cattle feed.
The ability to opt out is seen as a compromise; countries such as Spain want GM products, while France does not.
Environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have denounced the plans, saying European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was caving into vested interest.
"Juncker promised he would reform EU GM crop decisions to make them more democratic. Instead, he could end up approving more GM crops under the banner of free trade, brushing aside the concerns of EU citizens and risks for the environment," said Greenpeace EU Director Jorgo Riss.
EU might simplify GMO imports
EU to simplify GMO import approval: sources