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‘Frankenstein’-food fears keep GMOs out of Europe
As the new European Union executive prepares to debate fresh policy proposals which might unblock the stalemate over approving genetically modified crops for feed, processing or cultivation, there are few signs that Europe’s fears over what some have termed “Frankenstein foods” are easing.
On Friday Bulgaria’s ruling GERB party proposed a five-year moratorium on the production of genetically modified (GM) crops for scientific and commercial reasons following public outcry over a new legislation.
Bulgaria follows in the footsteps of Austria, Germany, Hungary and France, all of whom have banned the commercial cultivation of the only GM crop (Monsanto’s MON 810 maize type) allowed to be grown in the European Union.
Why, despite all the assurances from the scientific community and food safety authorities, do so many remain so adverse to GMOs?
The answer you often get from consumers when you ask why they don’t like GMOs is: ”You just never know” — suggesting they think there are still dangers lurking out there.
The last survey conducted by the European Union on public acceptance of GMOs, in 2006, showed that while many had faith in biotechnology, few had an appetite for food made from genetically modified organisms. For Europeans, the perceived risk still seems to outweigh the demonstrated benefits in terms of higher crop yields and less use of pesticides.
Recent events suggest European opinion has altered little since 2006, suggesting it could be a long time still before Europe embraces a GMO-world.