Germany plans to abstain on vote that could approve growing another genetically engineered crop

Learn more about genetically modified foods so you can make informed, healthy choices

And here I thought that Europeans had a better handle on the hazards of GMO crops than we do.

Yesterday, a government spokesman said that Germany intends to abstain in a European Union vote next Tuesday on the cultivation of a new type of genetically modified maize. Some German opposition politicians said an abstention could lead to the European Commission giving a green light for the maize to be farmed. However diplomats in Brussels said Germany’s move might not be enough to ensure EU approval.

The vote covers an insect-resistant maize, known as Pioneer 1507, developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical. If approved, it would end Monsanto’s current monopoly in Europe’s small market for GMO crops.

The EU has only ever approved two other GMO crops for commercial cultivation, a maize type and a potato, but the potato was later blocked by a court.

“The abstention … by the federal government opens the way for approval of the genetically modified maize type 1507 in the European Union,” said Alexander Bonde, the opposition Green Party’s state consumer protection minister in the south German Baden-Wuerttemberg state government.

Germany’s stance is a blow for France which opposes the GMO and has lobbied Germany heavily on the issue, notably during a visit of the German farm minister to Paris in early January.

Genetically modified corn “We take note of the German decision,” a French farm ministry official said. “This does not question France’s position which clearly remains to keep a ban on genetically modified organisms.”

On Wednesday France launched an attempt to restore a ban on genetically modified (GMO) maize,, which was annulled by its top court to avoid sowings this spring.

Along with France, Austria and Italy are among countries expected to oppose approval, while supporters are likely to include Britain, Sweden and Spain.

It’s politics versus science. A number of scientific opinions highlighting the impact of a toxin released by 1507 have been released by the European Food Safety Authority.

“The approval of this crop would be utterly irresponsible. The EU’s own safety testing has shown that it is harmful to butterflies and moths and that there are still significant gaps in safety testing,” said Mark Breddy, spokesman at Greenpeace in Brussels.

Seems politicians would rather bend to greed than prudence. Pesticides are killing bees and wildlife that are vital to the continuation of our food supply. Wonder if they’ll wake up to this looming disaster anytime soon.

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