Scotland Announces It Will Ban GM Crops After ‘Long-Standing’ Concerns

It’s decided: Scotland refuses to grow genetically modified (GM) crops and will submit its notice to the the European Commission. Scotland refused to cultivate GM crops any longer, including varieties of GM maize that the European Union has already approved and six other GM crops that are pending authorization. The Scottish Government put its foot down on the GM issue in an attempt to maintain the “clean, green status” that the country has become known for.

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary announced the importance of Scotland’s ban on GM crops.

“Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment – and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status.

There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector.

Scottish food and drink is valued at home and abroad for its natural, high quality which often attracts a premium price, and I have heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash.

That is why I strongly support the continued application of the precautionary principle in relation to GM crops and intend to take full advantage of the flexibility allowed under these new EU rules to ban GM crops from being grown in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has long-standing concerns about GM crops – concerns that are shared by other European countries and consumers, and which should not be dismissed lightly.”

Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead confirmed the ban on cultivating GM crops in Scotland.

“Opting out of growing genetically-modified crops is the right move for Scotland,” Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone said. “Cultivation of GM crops would harm our environment and our reputation for high quality food and drink.”

Johnstone said that GM crops are not the answer to food security and that to cultivate GM crops would represent a “capture” of the Scottish people by “big business.” Johnstone said that the ban is still not enough to please the people in Scotland, though.

“While the Scottish Government’s decision is a step in the right direction, we need to see ministers go further. Most consumers want meat, eggs and dairy labelled to show whether they come from animals fed on GM feed. The Scottish Government needs to challenge big retailers to improve their labelling so that we have real choice as shoppers.”

Huw Jones, with Rothamsted Research, said that today is a “sad day for science and a sad day for Scotland,” and shamed the Scottish Parliament for believing that GM crop cultivation would harm Scotland’s food and drink sector.

“If approved, this decision serves to remove the freedom of Scottish farmers and narrows their choice of crop varieties to cultivate in the future.”

Most of the response out of Scotland, however, has been positive.

“GM technology is closely associated with heavy use of glyphosate, a herbicide recently classified as probably carcinogenic,” Peter Ritchie, director of the sustainable food campaign Nourish Scotland, stated, according to BT.

What do you think of the announcement that Scotland will ban all GM crop cultivation?

[Photo via Pixabay]