Not only are Scotland, Greece and Latvia making moves to rid their countries of GM crops, but others are following suit and also increasing bans on such crops. Most recently, France, Italy, Austria, and Germany have increased their own plans to ban GM crops in the country. France and Germany intend to use a European opt-out scheme that they hope will ensure a ban on the cultivation of GM crops in the country. Now Italy and Austria are looking to do the same.
As part of the opt-out process, France has also now passed legislation in its National Assembly that will oppose the cultivation of GM crops, even if they are approved at the EU level. The new EU opt-out scheme allows for individual countries to seek exclusion from any approval request for GM cultivation in the 28-member bloc, or for varieties that are already cleared to be safe by the EU. While countries like Greece and Latvia have moved to rid themselves of Monsanto's MON810 maize, which is the only GM crop that is allowed to be grown in Europe, other countries like Spain and Portugal still engage in heavy use of the crop.
Russia has also recently made moves to ban GMO food production in the country. A senior Russian government official has confirmed that the cabinet has decided that any food production in the country will be entirely void of any genetically-modified organisms. For now, there are only about 57 registered food products within Russia that do not contain any GMOs.
Challenges over chemical poisoning continue to mount against bio-tech companies like Monsanto and others. The herbicide Roundup for example, has gained a lot of negative attention over the years as the effects of its overuse have continued to surface. Just this year, the World Health Organization issued a report that classified Roundup's active ingredient, glyphosate, as a “probable carcinogen.” The herbicide hit the market back in the mid-90s and it became the dominant weed-killer for many farmers. A new cover story of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), calls into question the future of herbicide use and dominance, claiming it remains uncertain because of two main reasons: health concerns and resistant weeds.
Despite the growing pressure from many organizations and individuals around the world who are calling-out GM crops and bio-tech companies for the risks that they might pose health-wise or to the environment, there remain many who are supportive of GM crops and the technology in general. There are still those who are willing to overlook the growing criticism from a number of farmers and doctors who have directly called-out these bio-tech companies, and theirs chemical products, for the dangers that they might pose.
When given a choice, you can see that many consumers prefer to eat items that aren't genetically-modified. This is evident by the fact that Wal-mart and a growing number of grocery locations are now incorporating organic items onto their shelves, and the voluntary non-gmo verified project is prospering in the United States and other areas. With the increasing number of countries moving to ban GM crops, and the increasing criticism from food groups to health advocates and more, it's clear that the number of people who want to opt-out of the GMO experiment continues to grow worldwide.
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