Friends of the Earth Europe has today strongly criticised the European Commission’s new proposal for regulating genetically modified foods and feed, calling it an empty offer that does nothing to protect citizens or governments. The environment group accused President Juncker of breaking his promise to make decision-making more democratic and acting as if the controversial TTIP EU-US trade deal was already in place.
Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said:
"President Juncker has broken the promise he made to Europeans to improve the way GM foods are assessed. His new draft law is a smokescreen which fails to deal with the democratic deficit at the centre of the debate on GM foods. It is unacceptable that the European Commission will still be forcing GM foods onto the public at the biotech industry’s bequest."
The proposal was announced to fulfil the promises of Commission President Juncker for more democratic procedures for the authorisation of GM food and feed. In previous votes a majority of member states have opposed GM products, but failed to get the necessary qualified majority, by default handing the decision over to the European Commission who then approves them.
The draft law promises to empower national governments to ban GM food and feed, but doesn't provide the legal grounds for them to do so, opening them up to possible legal challenges from biotech companies or the US government.
Mute Schimpf continued:
"In light of the ongoing trade talks with the US, European citizens need reassuring that the European Commission isn’t about to sneak genetically modified foods onto their plates. With such a weak draft GMO law, you have to question whether President Juncker believes that the TTIP is already in force."
Last weekend more than 600 protests took part across the EU against the proposed transatlantic trade deal, which food campaigners claim the US government is using to try to force through more GM foods into the EU.