The European Union announced last week a proposal for each of its member countries to have the option to opt out of importing biotech products. The proposal is to permit EU member states to opt out of import and use of genetically modified crops on a country-by-country basis. American Farm Bureau’s Veronica Nigh says the proposal would allow countries to ignore science, but, “One potential silver lining here is that this opt out proposal was part of a package deal that involved approving 17 pending applications for biotech products.”
Nigh says the primary concern with this proposal is it doesn’t seem to be compliant with the World Trade Organization. It also undermines the role of science and raises concerns for what this means for the single European market.
“This is, at this point, just a legislative proposal and will not go into effect immediately. If approved it could take anywhere from two to five-years for this legislation to be voted on and then put into action.”
Nigh says there hadn’t been any import authorizations since November 2013, despite the European Food Safety Authority affirming the products were safe.
“We look forward to returning to a more standard process to make those approvals, but it’s certainly positive to get these 17 products approved for import and looking forward to a revised process that would allow those products to be approved more quickly in the future.”
Farmers shouldn’t be concerned that this will have an impact tomorrow, but Nigh says it could have a significant impact on grain trade in the coming years.