Germany is now on track to be the next country to ban the use of genetically modified crops (GMOs). Minister for Agriculture Christian Schmidt has told German states that he intends to evoke the new EU law that was passed back in March.
The decision to use the “opt-out” rule prevents GMO crops from being grown on German soil even if some types of GMOs have been approved by the EU, and closely follows the Scottish Government’s announcement earlier this month that it was using the rule.
The German announcement also comes as Professor Carlo Leifert of Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University said he believes the ban on GM crops is right, and “there are likely to be significant commercial benefits from Scotland being clearly recognized as a GM-free region.”
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GMO crops are widely grown in Asia and the Americas, but opinion has been divided in Europe.
France, Germany, and Scotland have been opposed to GMOs, while Britain has been in favor of them. Before the new rule came into effect, any GMOs that the EU had approved, the countries had to allow their farmers to grow the crops.
All countries in the EU have until October 3 to register with the Commission if they want to opt out of the bloc-wide approvals.
Scotland’s SNP said that it welcomes Germany’s move, with Rob Gibson saying: “Like Scotland, the German government recognizes the importance of protecting its food and drink sector, and keeping its environment clean and green.”
“In government, the SNP has ensured that Scotland is at the forefront of environmental protection—legislating for world-leading climate change targets, significantly increasing renewable generation, and placing a moratorium on fracking. The German decision shows that Scotland is now also leading Europe on GM crops,” he added.
In a letter from the ministry that Reuters has seen, it stressed that Schmidt was continuing his previously announced policy, which was to keep a ban on GMOs in Germany. Schmidt has also asked if German state authorities could say by Sept. 11 whether their region would be included in the opt-out.