Genetically engineered crops restricted in 19 European countries

Genetically engineered crop cultivation has been restricted in 19 European Union countries.

On March 11, European Union member states were told in E.U. Directive 2015/412 they could request to opt out of the genetically engineered crops cultivation authorization for non-scientific reasons by Oct. 3. The 19 countries that decided to opt out for all or part of their territories do not currently grow genetically engineered corn crops, so it will not make a change in farming in those countries.

Before Directive 2015/412, member states had to present a reason on the basis of the safeguard clause or of the emergency measures, only if there was new scientific evidence suggesting that such a cultivation would be harmful to the environment, humans or animals.

The member states who want to restrict or prohibit genetically engineered crops cultivation have two options: a member state may ask for the geographical scope of the application to exclude all or part of its territory, allowing the manufacturer 30 days to adjust or option two -- a member state may adopt national opt-out measures by invoking grounds such as environmental or agricultural policy objectives, town- and country-planning, land use, coexistence, socio-economic impacts, or public policy.

The only genetically engineered plant approved for cultivation under the first option is MON810 Bt corn, an insect-resistant corn grown in five E.U. countries with seven other varieties.

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USDA Foreign Agriculture Service

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