Genetically Modified Agricultural Products Are “Cracked” in Europe

Xinhua News Agency, London, May 27th Summary: GM agricultural products are difficult to "break ice" in Europe

Xinhua News Agency reporter Zhang Jiawei

Europe is one of the most rigorous regions in the world for the management of genetically modified agricultural products. It has always been highly cautious of genetically modified crops and their products. However, there are various indications that there has been loosening in Europe on the cultivation of genetically modified agricultural products and on the issue of safety recognition.

In fact, European GM agricultural products are not completely rejected. Two GM crops have been approved for planting in the EU. They are Monsanto's MON810 GM corn and Amfs' BASF's Amflora GM potatoes. In addition, 44 genetically modified crops, including NK603 genetically modified corn, have been approved for import into the European Union. The varieties cover cotton, soybeans, canola, potatoes and sugar beets.

In addition, in recent years, many research institutions and scientists have sounded one after another, both endorsing the safety of genetically modified agricultural products and also calling for the elimination of institutional obstacles and the acceleration of the development of GM technology in Europe.

Not long ago, the well-known Royal Society of the United Kingdom issued scientific guidelines on genetically modified foods in an attempt to eliminate public concerns about the safety of genetically modified foods. The report pointed out that foods made from genetically modified crops are safe to eat and there is no evidence that they have adverse health effects.

Regarding the possible environmental impacts of genetically modified crops, the Royal Society stated in the scientific guidelines: “Crops will not simply cause damage to the environment because of genetic modification.”

As early as 2014, more than 20 European top botanists jointly wrote a letter to the European Union, pointing out that if the GM crops are not allowed to grow, the European agricultural development goal will be far behind.

The many causes of GM agricultural products in Europe are caused by the fact that Europeans have a special "psychological complex" with regard to food safety issues. Since the discovery of mad cow disease in the United Kingdom, food safety problems in the EU have continued. Under the impact of subsequent “dioxin” pollution, bird flu, and foot-and-mouth disease, Europeans have been cautious about food safety issues.

The fact that genetically modified crops have rapidly developed during the period when Europeans are generally concerned about food safety has always been accompanied by skepticism. A survey conducted by the European Commission has shown that 56% of citizens of the European Union are hostile to genetically modified technology. The reason is that, like feeding cattle with animal bone meal, “GM technology can only bring more profits to developers, but not to society as a whole. Any benefit." In addition, the lack of understanding of GM technology, especially the media’s wanton exaggeration of the risk of GM technology, has also caused Europeans to remain skeptical about GM foods.

The contradiction between the right and wrong of genetically modified foods hides economic interests. As of 2014, the global acreage of genetically modified crops reached 181.5 million hectares, and the planting area continued to increase for 19 consecutive years, while the European acreage was almost negligible. Different economic interests have caused some European countries to reject GM crops.

However, in the long-running disputes between "reversing" and "reversing" in Europe, the most marked is the "failure" of British science writer and famous "reverse fighter" Mark Linas. Linus wrote an article in 1996 that was considered to be the first to expose the crimes of genetically modified foods. He also organized dozens of people to use knifes to destroy genetically modified experimental fields.

However, in January 2013, Linus said in a public speech that his “demonization” of genetically modified foods has aggravated the public’s fear of genetic modification. He apologized and stressed that “the genetically modified foods on the market are now available. After toxicology and pharmacological safety tests, it is tantamount to rejecting food for fear of its danger."

Cathy Martin is a senior researcher at the John Innes Center, a renowned plant research institute in Europe. He has been working on GM crops for many years. She told the Xinhua News Agency reporter that over 500 independent research institutions have conducted extensive research on the safety of genetically modified agricultural products in the past 25 years. There is no scientific evidence to show that they are more risky than traditional crops and foods in terms of environmental impact and health and safety. .

Despite the continuous appeal of the scientific community, GM agricultural products still face obstacles in Europe, especially the political factors within the EU.

In January last year, the European Parliament passed a decree allowing EU member states to select, prohibit or restrict the cultivation of genetically modified crops in their own countries according to their respective circumstances, and allow some countries to have the right to ban genetically modified crops in the country. In October last year, the European Parliament rejected a proposal by the European Commission to allow countries to decide for themselves whether to prohibit or limit the entry of genetically modified agricultural products into their markets. A piece of legislation and a veto reflects the differences within the EU regarding genetic modification.

Joe Perry, former chairman of the European Union's Food Safety Agency’s Genetically Modified Organism Panel, believes that the EU has no scientific reason to postpone the approval of some mature GM crops for commercial planting in member countries. “The only reason is political.”

Cathy Martin analyzed that some European agricultural powers are worried that the introduction of genetically modified agricultural products will damage their traditional agricultural product markets. Therefore, they have been advocating that the European Union restricts or even prohibits genetically modified agricultural products, leading companies that have researched and developed genetically modified technologies to abandon the European market.

Faced with this situation, the UK government advisory body, the Science and Technology Commission, issued a report warning that the EU is overly conservative in the management of GM technology, and the red tape has led to a slow process of product approval. This area has started to lag behind countries such as the United States and China.

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