2015 has been a remarkable year in the movement to ban GMO worldwide. 19 EU member states have chosen to opt-out of cultivation of EU-approved GMO crops. Also, the US Environmental Protection Agency has reversed its decision to permit for use Dow Chemical’s ‘Enlist Duo’ pesticide, which contains 2,4-D, one of the components of Agent Orange.
2015 has seen significant push against genetically modified crop cultivation worldwide as more and more nations become aware of how toxic they are to people and the nature kingdom 1. The European Union gave individual member states the right to apply for an opt-out of cultivation of any EU-approved GMO crops 2. The October 3rd 2015 deadline saw 19 nations and principalities apply for opt-outs, a 2/3 majority 3. The letters of opt-out agreement state the crop and territory for opt-out. Northern Ireland, for example, states for Bt11 maize the area of exclusion is: “The whole territory of Northern Ireland including its islands.” 4. Outside of the EU, Serbia stated they would not permit any GMO 5 and Russia stated they would not cultivate GMO or import it 6.
The EU nations and regions opting out are: Austria, Wallonia (in Belgium), Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (in the United Kingdom).
The EU has given manufacturers the right of response against any opt-out within a 30-day period. The opt-out uptake has had an effect already: Syngenta has withdrawn application of two of its GMO maize varieties, stating loss of market potential 7. And Monsanto has acquiesced to the opt-out requests of Latvia and Greece 8.
Mexico’s courts have ruled against cultivation of Monsanto’s GMO soybean crops in the Yucatan peninsula, where honey production is its main industry. Another court decision upheld a 2013 ruling barring companies such as Monsanto and DuPont/Pioneer from cultivating or selling their GMO corn within the country’s borders 9.
In the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency has reversed its decision to permit for use Dow Chemical’s pesticide ‘Enlist Duo’. This pesticide combines 2,4-D, an active ingredient in Agent Orange, with glyphosate, which was declared a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organisation earlier this year. The EPA stated it was making the reversal because it has realized that Dow’s ‘Enlist Duo’ would be considerably more harmful than the Agency initially believed 10.
Also in the USA, the Food and Drugs Agency has just approved for human consumption AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon. This is the first GE animal approved for human consumption 11. However, over 60 major supermarket chains across the US, including Costco, the second largest retailer in the world, have already said they will not stock this GMO salmon 12, 13.
1 World Foundation for Natural Science GMO Fact Sheet
2 EU opt-out: Parliament backs GMO opt-out for EU member states
3 Member states opt-out applications: “Restrictions of geographical scope of GMO applications/authorisations: Member States demands and outcomes”
4 Northern Ireland opt-out of Bt 11 maize
5 Serbia Law on Genetically Modified Organisms Article 2 states: “No genetically modified organisms or product containing genetically modified organisms can be traded or grown for commercial use at the territory of the Republic of Serbia.”
6 Russia says NO to GMO seeds; aims for food supply that’s ‘cleanest in the world’
7 Syngenta withdraws two EU applications for GMO products
8 Innovation? No, thanks! Some EU countries opt out of GM seed cultivation under new law
9 Mexico: Monsanto Handed ‘Double Whammy’ by Mexican Courts Over Planting GMOs
10 EPA reverses ‘Enlist Duo’ pesticide decision: EPA Pulls Registration for Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide Citing High Toxicity Levels
11 Genetically Engineered Salmon Approved for Consumption
12 60-plus retailers reject GMO salmon