Commission gives green light to genetically-modified potato
Published: 03 March 2010
In a controversial move, the European Commission yesterday (2 March) gave the green light for the first genetically-modified potato to be cultivated in the European Union.
At present, EU member states are able to restrict GM crop cultivation only under strict conditions as authorisation licences are valid across the 27-country bloc, in accordance with the principles of the single EU internal market.
José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, has voiced support for any plan that would allow the Commission to maintain EU-wide authority over GMO safety assessment and approval, while allowing countries the freedom to decide whether to cultivate GM crops.
Yesterday's decision was taken with this principle in mind, as outlined in the political guidelines for the new European Commission.
The EU executive authorised the cultivation in the EU of Amflora, a genetically-modified potato developed by German chemical company BASF.
"Responsible innovation will be my guiding principle when dealing with innovative technologies," said Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli.
The decision was based on a series of favourable safety assessments carried out over the years by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
After an extensive and thorough review of five pending GM files, it had become clear that there were no new scientific issues that merited further assessment, as those concerning safety had been fully addressed, the commissioner added. Read More
It’s nice to see the EU actually recognizing sound science as a good resource for their decision making process. That’s normally not the case across the pond. When it comes to genetic modification, the truth is that humans have been doing this for 10,000 years. It’s a good thing we have or we probably wouldn’t be here today.