It’s all very well choosing not to eat genetically modified (GM) food, or even banning it entirely, but what if you then rear your cows on GM soya? Can you really maintain a consistent moral objection?
This is the dilemma many European countries are faced with now the EU has proposed measures that will further de-harmonise rules on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The latest proposal would allow member states to “opt-out” from the use of GM food and animal feed, thereby mirroring legislation passed earlier this year that allowed members to opt-out from GM cultivation.
The official aim is to allow member states to impose restrictions on GM food and feed “in respect of democratic choice and in the interest of consistency”. But countries expecting to pick and choose from different GMOs, whether crops, food or feed, will find their freedom heavily constrained.
Any GM restrictions must still comply with EU law. This firstly requires that any measures be necessary to protect a “relevant legitimate objective”. Worries over the environment or public health don’t count – in theory these are dealt with under the initial authorisation process. This leaves objectives such as public morality, consumer protection or agricultural policy. Even then, there must still be no arbitrary discrimination or disguised protectionism.
If you claim public morality justifies prohibiting GM crops or food, you cannot then backflip and still permit GM feed.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Can you really be GM-free? Why new European laws pose a moral dilemma