Greens protest genetically modified potato go-ahead

A A A

Green members of the European parliament stood en masse and held up placards Tuesday in protest against the EU Commission approval of the cultivation of genetically modified potatoes.

The deputies help up placards that read "For a GMO free Europe" as one of their number, Rebecca Harms, berated European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso for last week's decision.

German MEP Harms called it a "risky strategy that will not find support" among EU citizens.

"There is no reason to authorise this GMO potato, we don't need it," she said in the protest during question-time in the parliament.

Barroso congratulated the Greens for their "enthusiasm".

"You have a position very strongly against GMOs, that is your right," he said, sometimes shouting over the howls of protest.

He said he had "no prejudice in favour or against GMOs" and merely took advice on their safety from the European Food Safety Agency.

The commission last week approved the cultivation of the Amflora potato, developed by German chemical giant BASF, for industrial use in paper making but not for human consumption.

Modified vegetables and cereals, so-called "Frankenfoods", have long been a matter of fierce debate in Europe.

Some genetically modified products have been approved for sale in Europe but before the BASF potato only MON 810, a strain of genetically modified maize made by Monsanto, had been authorised for cultivation.

The EU's food safety agency has said the Amflora potato, designed to produce industrial starch, is safe for all uses.

But the potato contains a marker gene which is resistant to antibiotics, fuelling fears over the risks of contamination for conventional varieties.

Greenpeace has said the decision to allow the potato to be grown in Europe was shocking and "puts the environment and public health at risk".

Barroso recognised that "there are deep differences among our member states" on the GMO issue.

Where there is no majority, his commission, the EU's executive arm, is authorised to take the decision itself and it had decided "unanimously" to approve its cultivation, he said.

"We believe all scientific issues have been fully addressed," he added.

At the same time he said the intention was to give individual EU nations a choice on whether to cultivate authorised GMOs on their soil.

At present governments must give a reason for blocking the growing of such crops.

Six nations - Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg - have banned the planting of the MON 810 maize.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test