The genetically modified food revolution was (mostly) not televised, never voted on, and didn’t even come with proper labels in the United States of America: it basically happened under our noses, without our consent and without proper safety testing.
Now that GMOs have taken over the American market for major food crops like corn, soy, canola and a handful of others, divesting from them has proven to be quite difficult.
In Europe, however, the opposite has unfolded: Concern over an early GMO potato’s serious health risks, a vigilant press, a decision to prioritize safety because of lab-created GMOs’ tendency to contaminate natural crops, and citizens’ activism prevented GMOs from ever taking root.
The continent has been mostly GMO free for quite a while now (with some exceptions, especially parts of Spain), but a new ruling by the EU earlier this year allowed countries to “opt-out” of GMO cultivation on environmental (and other) grounds, clarifying the rights of nations seeking to avoid a push from Monsanto and others to unleash the crops on European citizens.
The ruling is now being put to good use by countries whose governments are actually listening to what their citizens have to say about their desire to avoid genetically engineered crops.
Greece, Latvia The Latest to Announce GMO Bans
According to this article from the website EcoWatch.com, the countries of Greece and Latvia have announced their decisions to “opt-out” of allowing GMOs within their borders, joining two other European nations who have also spoken out so far.
Scotland became the first to do so early last month, which is especially noteworthy considering it is the home country of Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant.
In addition Germany, a country that also values the purity of its food as does Scotland, announced its intentions in August (through its agricultural minister).
The main genetically engineered crop up for debate is MON810, a type of GM maize that Monsanto says is safe. But doubts remain due to the lack of independent and long-term safety testing, as well as the ever-present specter of contamination which critics say hurts crop biodiversity and poses many risks that have not been studied.
Monsanto has said it will abide by the countries’ wishes.
Organic farming is skyrocketing in Latvia, just one of the many countries that is seeking to preserve its unique status as a producer of natural and non-GMO foods in a world where everything is becoming more artificial.
Greece has also long been known for its dedication to natural, healthy and flavorful farm fresh foods.
Despite the growing trend toward banning GMOs across Europe and countries protecting themselves from Monsanto, the GMO debate is likely to continue.
The environmental group Friends of the Earth has accused the European Commission of bowing to pressure from large biotech companies to minimize health and safety checks on imports, which may contain GMOs.
Many critics have said Monsanto and others are working to infiltrate Europe through lobbying and hoping to gain “backdoor” access.
But for now, the bans will remain, leaving many Americans to question: how come we can’t even get GMO labeling on our own soil?