The European Commission just proposed new legislation that would allow members to restrict imports of genetically modified crops even if research has demonstrated that the crops are safe. Brussels sees this new proposal as a kind of middle ground in the GMO debate, as the WSJ lays out:
Under the plan…the commission would promptly approve biotech crops for import after they have been deemed safe by EU scientific authorities. That has been a long-standing gripe from U.S. officials and the biotech industry: Crops that have passed scientific reviews get stuck in Europe’s regulatory limbo; the commission is reluctant to defy member states that oppose biotechnology by approving the crops, even though it has the legal authority to do so.
But the proposal would also allow a member state to ban the use of these crops if it believes there is an “overriding” public interest. EU lawyers say this provision, reflecting what is essentially moral opposition to biotechnology in some EU nations, would allow bans under WTO rules, even on biotech crops that have passed safety reviews.
But this “middle ground” gives environmentalists far too much credit. Greens have long railed against GMOs. At first, they did so in the name of public safety, but study after study has exonerated these high-tech crops. Now green opposition isn’t left with much of a leg to stand on besides that uncomfortable feeling one might get when imagining some grotesque “frankenfood” hybrid on one’s kitchen table.
This is irresponsible, to say the least. Genetically modified crops can produce higher yields in more adverse conditions, helping to feed the kind of hotter, overpopulated planet that greens warn is in our near future. With this new proposed law, Brussels is pandering to Luddite foolishness.