More than a million Europeans sign petition to stop GMO approvals

Saturday, December 18, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: GMOs, Europe, health news

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(NaturalNews) The European Union (EU) has typically been far slower than the U.S. to approve the plantings and use of genetically-modified organisms (GMO). But even the few crops that it has sanctioned have been met with opposition from many concerned Europeans. According to a recent Reuters report, a group of European campaigners has presented a petition to the European Commission with over a million signatures opposing the approval of any more GM crops.

Back in March, the commission approved the GM "Amflora" potato for planting, which was its first GM approval in 12 years. But concerned citizens have been gathering signatures to oppose its approval and any future approvals on the basis that GMOs have not been proven safe for consumption or for the environment.

"Over a million people across Europe have set [sic] the EU a democratic test -- will the EU address the real concern people have about GM crops and food, or will it side with the chemical industry lobbyists controlling GM technology?" Greenpeace's EU Director Jorgo Riss is quoted as asking by Reuters. "Until safety issues of GMs are examined by independent experts, all GM authorizations should stop."

The EU's new constitutional treaty contains a section called the "European citizen's initiative" that allows Europeans to influence decisions made by the EU Commission through petitions signed by more than one million people. And although the more than one million signatures in the GMO petition were technically collected before the initiative was properly enacted, John Dalli, the EU commissioner responsible for GMO policy, expressed willingness to consider the petition anyway and take appropriate action.

Overall, support for GMOs among Europeans continues to drop, with recent data showing that the vast majority is generally skeptical of their safety. Nearly three-quarters of Europeans believe GMOs are "fundamentally unnatural" and more than half believe they are a threat to human health (

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