Berlin Wants to Ban Safe GMOs

Germany, Europe’s self-anointed green leader, is no stranger to making rash and counter-productive policy decisions in the name of eco-idealism, so perhaps it doesn’t come as a surprise that the country is looking to ban safe GMOs. Earlier this spring Brussels caved to Luddite green fear mongers who have been hard at work raising the public’s hackles about so-called “frankenfoods” and pushing for national and even international bans of GMOs. The EU now allows its members to restrict the import of GM foods that have been deemed healthy and safe for human consumption, and Berlin is preparing to jump at the chance to exercise that opt-out. Reuters reports:

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt has informed German state governments of his intention to tell the EU that Germany will make use of new “opt-out” rules to stop GMO crop cultivation even if varieties have been approved by the EU, a letter from the agriculture ministry seen by Reuters shows. […]

In the letter, the ministry stressed that Schmidt is continuing a previously-announced policy to keep a ban on GMOs in Germany. Under the new EU rules, countries have until Oct. 3, 2015, to inform the Commission that they wish to opt out of new EU GMO cultivation approvals, the ministry letter said.

You’d be hard pressed to find a more succinct summation of the ludicrous anti-GMO movement than this: a supposedly eco-conscious country is actively flouting scientific assessments and rejecting outright crop technologies that are more capable than conventional crops of boosting yields with fewer pesticides in more extreme climates. When Scotland moved to ban GMOs earlier this month, it at least had the honesty to admit it was doing so to protect its “clean and green brand” (whatever that means), but it’s clear that when it comes to these genetically altered foods, eco-image has little to do with actual science or the safety of the crops in question—and everything to do with deeper cultural biases.

The smart environmentalist would be hard at work trying to counteract these biases, but unfortunately examples of those kinds of thinkers are few and far between.

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