Farm Ireland

Wednesday 24 January 2018

GM opt out is a cop-out: ICSA

ICSA president Patrick Kent
ICSA president Patrick Kent

A farm lobby group has slammed the Government's decision to allow genetically modified (GM) crops to be sown here from next year.

Ireland is one of less than 10 EU countries not to avail of the opportunity to ban the sales of GM crops for cultivation by the deadline earlier this month.

The ICSA (Irish Cattle and Sheep Association) has called on the Minister of the Environment to explain his reasons for "neglecting to ensure Ireland remains GM free. Our clean green status has been seriously undermined, and for what? Why jeopardise our ability to market our meat and dairy products in the future? The opt-out clause would have enhanced the clean green image of Ireland with both domestic and international consumers," said ICSA president, Patrick Kent.

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Britain have applied to keep GM crops out of all or part of their territories.

These applications were made under new rules giving national governments rights to ban biotech varieties, including Monsanto's MON 810, a crop that produces the BT toxin that is poisonous to the corn borer pest. MON 810 has been licenced since 1998 and is the only GM crop currently commercially grown in the EU.

However, the ban also includes eight pending GM applications.

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