Two more European countries have announced that they will utilize an “opt-out” clause of a European Union rule passed in March that allows member countries to abstain from being used to grow GM crops. The recently passed law allows individual countries to seek exclusion from any approval of GMO agriculture, regardless of whether or not they’ve been authorized by the EU.
Social and environmental concerns, as well as health impacts, may be cited as justification for a national ban. Greece and Latvia are the most recent nations to take advantage of the ruling, completely banning Monsanto’s pest-resistant GM corn.
Currently, Monsanto’s GM MON810 corn is the only variety grown in Europe, but it is widely grown in the U.S. and Asia. While insisting that it couldn’t care less about the ban and claiming that it won’t affect their sales, Monsanto issued a statement calling the countries’ reasons to forbid GMOs “arbitrary political grounds,” signaling that the biotech company is clearly agitated by the move.
Currently, Monsanto has no plans to request approvals for any new GM seeds in Europe, according to Reuters.
The two countries join the list of others saying no to GMO cultivation, including France, Germany and Scotland, where opposition to GMOs is strong. Britain, however, welcomes GM crops with open arms.