Austria and Italy Celebrate Bans on GM Crops with EU Opt-Out

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Jane Arnold

Sep 29, 2015, 1:42:13 AM9/29/15

Austria and Italy Celebrate Bans on GM Crops with EU Opt-Out
Posted on Sep 24 2015

Austrian Health Minister Sabine Oberhauser and a number of Italian
Ministries have confirmed that both countries are officially requesting an
opt-out from growing the eight varieties of GM maize permitted or set to
be permitted at the EU level, thus there will now be a full ban on GM
crops in both countries under new EU regulations.

“Austria has made use of the newly created EU opt-out rules for the
authorization of genetically modified crops,” Oberhauser stated on
Wednesday. She further added that Austria’s geographical opt-out demand
was delivered to the European Commission earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the Italian Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry
Policies, Maurizio Martina, alongside Environment Minister, Gian Luca
Galletti and Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin announced that they are
preparing 8 letters (one for each GM maize variety) that will be received
by the EU before October 3 with Italy’s demand for an opt-out from growing
GM crops.

On Monday, Northern Ireland also joined the massive wave of EU countries
that have decided to ban the cultivation of GM crops under new EU
regulations that were passed earlier in 2015.

Northern Ireland and Lithuania have followed France, who announced their
decision last week, and also Greece and Latvia in asking for an opt-out
from growing GM crops. Germany and Scotland have also made it clear that
they will follow the same path.

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt informed German states in
August of his intention to use a new EU law, passed in March, to ban the
use of GM crops. This followed the Scottish Government’s announcement
earlier in the same month that they will take similar action to protect
Scotland’s clean, green status.

The German announcement also came as Professor Carlo Leifert, Professor of
Ecological Agriculture at Newcastle University, said that he strongly
believes the Scottish Government ban on GM crops is right and that “there
are likely to be significant commercial benefits from Scotland being
clearly recognized as a GM-free region”.

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