Anti-GMO: European Victory

BASF quit. The German chemicals and biotech giant, who had been fighting hard for 13 years to get approval for Amflora, its genetically modified starched-up potato for industrial use, is giving up on the European market for GMO (genetically modified organisms). The reason? “A lack of acceptance from the majority of consumers, farmers and politicians,” said Stefan Marcinowski, a BASF board member. “Therefore, it does not make business sense to continue investing in products exclusively for cultivation in this market.”

BASF is moving its plant science headquarters from Limburgerhof, Germany, to Raleigh, North Carolina.

The decision occurred 18 months after an attempt by the European Commission to put an end to a 12-year moratorium on GM crops by allowing individual countries to decide whether or not to grow GM crops. Seemingly, that initiative is not going anywhere, and BASF decided to finally cut its losses, and move to greener pastures. The company said that it has decided to focus on “attractive markets”… in the Americas and in Asia.

Kudos to consumers, farmers, even elected officials for getting their voices heard. The European anti-GMO movement has been very vocal for a very long time, and their victory is inspiring. In fact, it feels like nothing short of a sweet vindication after the disclosure one year ago, thanks to WikiLeaks, of the involvement of the American government into strong-arming the European Union to open its market to GMO – more precisely, to genetically modified (GM) seeds developed by American company Monsanto.

Only one other GM crop, a breed of maize (corn) developed by Monsanto that produces the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insect toxin, is currently approved for cultivation in Europe. Meanwhile, the 1998 moratorium on GM crops is on.

Now that BASF has given up on the European GMO market, it will be interesting to see what new twist Monsanto pulls out of its hat. The biotech giant is not short of allies in the scientific and media circles. Beware of (misleading) messages deploring the “backward” mentality of these anti-GM ignorant crowds, who fight the best that science has to offer to overcome hunger and environmental degradation, and flaunting Monsanto’s commitment to “sustainable agriculture.” Now, you wouldn’t want to “support” hunger, now, would you?

More seriously, here’s to hoping that this turn of event energizes American consumers who are demanding, at the very least, that GMO food be labeled.

110 comments

John W.
.9 months ago

7 REASONS WHY WE SHOULD LEAVE THE EU

It is not just about the Euro. Or the fact we’re having to bailout a currency we chose not to join. It is not the Euro sclerosis – the fact that the trade block we joined in the early 1970s which then accounted for 36 percent of world GDP, will account for less than 15 percent in 2020. It is not even really about the anti-democratic nature of having decisions made for you in Brussels. Today, for example, we learn that unelected and unaccountable Eurocrats want to prevent us from asking if those claiming benefits in Britain are entitled to them.

No. The reason we need to quit the EU is even more elemental than all that.

John W.
.9 months ago

Put simply, Europe cannot best be organised by deliberate design. From the Common Fisheries Policy to the common currency, being part of the EU means trying to do things according to some kind of “blue print” determined by a Brussels elite. It makes things more or less bound to go wrong. Indeed, the more insulated from public accountability the Euro System has become, the more inept it is.

By withdrawing from the EU, we would make it possible to organise economic and social affairs in this country not by deliberate design from the top down, but more organically and spontaneously. From the bottom up. Instead of common financial service rules, we might instead allow competing exchanges to offer different approaches and see which one works. Rather than a Common Agricultural Policy for millions of farmers, we might, you know, allow millions of farmers to each have their own farm policy for their farm.

John W.
.9 months ago

In an increasingly networked and interdependent world, the more successful societies are those that allow more decentralised decision making, by harnessing and balancing opposing forces. Britain’s refusal to be reconciled to being in the EU is not ultimately anything to do with flags or anthems. It’s because we know in our bones that it is a daft way to run a whole continent. I suspect it is not only the Brits who will soon be demanding the freedom to opt out.

John W.
.9 months ago

FISHING

British fishing policy is determined by the political imperative of European integration. The objective is to create an EU fishing fleet catching EU fish in EU waters under an EU permit system controlled from Brussels.

John W.
.9 months ago

THE ECONOMY

Bernard Connolly is a renowned British Economist, well known for his negative view of the euro. He was actually one of the first insiders to start touching upon the preparations for the euro currency.

John W.
.9 months ago

JOBS

It has been happening for the past twelve years and continues to slip off the tongues of European Union supporters and spin doctors in newspaper, on television and during broadcast interviews, “3 million jobs depend upon the EU” whilst avoiding, of course, providing evidence.

John W.
.9 months ago

TRADE

Britain pays direct ‘membership’ costs of £17.4bn, which equate to an annual net contribution of £6.7bn and dramatically rising owing to Tony Blair’s surrender of a sizeable part of the British rebate.

John W.
.9 months ago

IMMIGRATION

Britain has given away control of immigration within the EU to the EU, and retains the power only to control non-EU immigration. This has led to huge disparities where Commonwealth citizens with family in Britain struggle to obtain visas whilst EU citizens with little link with the UK can automatically work here

John W.
.9 months ago

In an increasingly networked and interdependent world, the more successful societies are those that allow more decentralised decision making, by harnessing and balancing opposing forces. Britain’s refusal to be reconciled to being in the EU is not ultimately anything to do with flags or anthems. It’s because we know in our bones that it is a daft way to run a whole continent. I suspect it is not only the Brits who will soon be demanding the freedom to opt out.

John W.
.9 months ago

Put simply, Europe cannot best be organised by deliberate design. From the Common Fisheries Policy to the common currency, being part of the EU means trying to do things according to some kind of “blue print” determined by a Brussels elite. It makes things more or less bound to go wrong. Indeed, the more insulated from public accountability the Euro System has become, the more inept it is.

By withdrawing from the EU, we would make it possible to organise economic and social affairs in this country not by deliberate design from the top down, but more organically and spontaneously. From the bottom up. Instead of common financial service rules, we might instead allow competing exchanges to offer different approaches and see which one works. Rather than a Common Agricultural Policy for millions of farmers, we might, you know, allow millions of farmers to each have their own farm policy for their farm.