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?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power