In what amounts to a step backward, BASF, the giant German chemical company, has decided to halt its efforts to sell genetically modified (GM) products in Europe. Their decision comes in response to unfounded but continuing fears among European consumers that genetically modified products pose a health risk. As Stefan Marcinowski, a BASF board member, states, There is still a lack of acceptance for this technology in many parts of Europe.
This withdrawal includes BASF s Amflora potato, which has been used primarily in the paper industry, leaving Monsanto s biotech corn as the only GM crop grown in Europe. This move runs counter to efforts by the European Commission to allow European farmers to grow GM crops. And ironically, as one industry group director noted, Europe already imports a number of biotechnology products at an overall financial loss to its countries.
This sounds like a real descent into the Dark Ages for Europe, says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. Genetically modified foods are safe and are important to the future progress of feeding the planet. Europe, unfortunately, is becoming more and more backwards when it comes to certain scientific issues.