Some European countries are among the most strongly opposed to genetic-engineering in the world. But those that are part of the European Union have not been able to outlaw all planting of GE crops as they wished because these moves have been challenged. Now the European Parliament has voted to allow individual countries to ban growth of such crops but only on their own territory.
In exchange for this vote, those countries (and those likely include France, Italy, Austria, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia) that implement such a ban at home will not try to block GE crops in other member states or so they say, now. This is, however, a gentlemen s agreement and does not have the force of law. How closely it will be adhered to is obviously to be determined.
Before this EU parliament vote, vehemently anti-GE countries have used emergency measures to block growth of GE crops anywhere in the European Union. Such moves obviously created at least temporary roadblocks as the EU and industry have acted to challenge these moves. So the hope is that allowing these countries to prohibit GE crop growth on their own territories will free the rest of the EU countries to make their own determinations and hopefully speed up the use of these important crops in the EU as a whole.
ACSH scientific advisor Dr. Alan McHughen, who is the CE Plant Biotechnologist and Geneticist at the University of California Riverside, had this comment about the latest agreement : So, one party gets a legal document guaranteeing their position (to ban GM cultivation) while the other party has to rely on an unwritten, undocumented, unguaranteed Gentleman s Agreement ? Excuse me, but ¦.[Ed. note: Dr. McHughen laughed heartily at this prospect, indicating his profound skepticism].
For valid, scientific information about GE agriculture, see ACSH s publication Food And You, A Guide to Modern Agricultural Biotechnolgy.