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Anti-GMO: European Victory

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.

Read more: Blogs, Conscious Consumer, Environment, Food, News & Issues, The Green Plate, , ,

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Laetitia Mailhes

Laetitia Mailhes is a French-born journalist. After many years as the technology and innovation correspondent of the French "Financial Times" in San Francisco, she decided to focus on what truly matters to her: sustainable food and farming. Find more articles and videos on her blog, The Green Plate Blog.


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12:40PM PST on Jan 11, 2013

The UK population have indicated very clearly that they don't want GM food in supermarkets regardless of where it is grown. Attempts to market 'pseudo-GM' foods grown from patented seeds is also under attack. I have written repeatedly to Waitrose to ask them to remove Tenderstem broccoli from their shelves and have stickered packs in my local store, but they won't even answer me now, and claim on their website that the product is 'natural' - well if that is the case, how come Monsanto can patent the seeds and insist that farmers buy new seed from them every year? It just isn't acceptable! Farmers and even home gardeners are conned into believing that a range of pesticides proven to cause a host of problems, are totally harmless. No-one dares speak up and say that it is these pesticides which are causing problems with our bees because Monsanto and similar companies are denying it, while doing their own research on the subject and not releasing the full results.

4:35AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Good stuff europe. Boycott monsanto and buy organic everyone!

3:32AM PST on Mar 8, 2012

Well this does not say much for the intelligence of so many US citizens & greed of GM companies!

3:03PM PST on Feb 27, 2012

Urge your representative to sign the letter demanding the FDA label GE foods.
"Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (OR) circulate Congressional letter in support of CFS’s legal petition to FDA demanding labeling of GE foods."

In other news:
"Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit by Organic Growers Against Monsanto"

Government needs to stop putting the greed of the elite before the health of the people.
Ron Paul 2012!

10:12AM PST on Feb 24, 2012

It is time Americans fight Monsanto and demand
GMO labeling of foods!

7:03AM PST on Feb 24, 2012


'Food shortages' is a 'lie'. Go to any grocery stores and you'll find lots of them. People who are 'hungry' or 'starving', are people who are having 'financial burdens' putting money into homes which they can't afford, excessive clothes and shoes they don't need, luxuries which have been placed higher on the 'pedestal' than necessary basic needs etc.

The day when most humans will understand that to love themselves more than the 'excessive material things' in their daily living, will be the day when they will have 'real' food on their table, a roof over their heads and enough heat to keep them warm during winter.

Priorities needed to be revisited, revamped and renewed with soul enrichment and enhancement in the core agenda.

2:50AM PST on Feb 24, 2012

We must also think about the GM animals. Utah Uni? have created spider-goats, but where is this gene mixing heading - what are the controls?

11:05PM PST on Feb 23, 2012

How sad that they even try to re-invent the food that is already found the way it needs to be -- naturally, non-genetically modified, and when not over harvested, the food that keeps growing year after year on its own. People knew to gather some of a certain food and leave some for next year, so that food would be there year after year.

4:14PM PST on Jan 24, 2012

Anonymous Takes Down

Anonymous Message To Monsanto; We fight for farmers!

To Monsanto, we demand you STOP the following:

Contaminating the global food chain with GMO’s.
Intimidating small farmers with bullying and lawsuits.
Propagating the use of destructive pesticides and herbicides across the globe.
Using “Terminator Technology”, which renders plants sterile.
Attempting to hijack UN climate change negotiations for your own fiscal benefit.
Reducing farmland to desert through monoculture and the use of synthetic fertilizers.
Inspiring suicides of hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers.
Causing birth defects by continuing to produce the pesticide “Round-up”
Attempting to bribe foriegn officials
Infiltrating anti-GMO groups

10:14AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Seems the European Governments are far more intelligent than ours are.

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