EU Hypocrisy on GM Food? German GM Approved

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 3/18/2010 12:01:00 AM
For those who think I have an anti-American bias after posting at length about how the US is on the decline due to any number of things, let me point out a matter where I believe the US is clearly in the right: genetically modified food. Having lived in the States for a while and having presumably consumed a lot of GM foodstuffs there, I can assure you that I have not turned into a radioactive Tony the Tiger. The controversy between the US and the EU over the latter's apprehension of importing GM foodstuffs without the benefit of a scientifically defensible safety claim is the stuff of trade quarrel legend. All I can say is that many third world nations for whom the EU is a major export market are thus forced to plant crops which are more vulnerable to pestilence and have lower yields.

Well surprise, surprise. It seems the EU is engaging in a bit of disingenuous activity of its own over its self-righteous disavowal of US GM. The ever-informative ICTSD brings us news that the EU has just approved of a GM potato--albeit one engineered by the venerable German chemical concern BASF. If this isn't not invented here writ large, I don't know what is:
In a departure from traditional policy, the EU has approved German chemical company BASF’s genetically modified (GM) Amflora potato for industrial cultivation. The move has sparked controversy over the crop’s antibiotic resistant properties, which critics say could impact antimicrobials - substances that help destroy or resist disease-causing microorganisms.

The decision to approve the GM crop for cultivation is the first in over a decade-the last being Monsanto’s MON 810 insect-repellent corn in 1998. The move is pivotal on two accounts: not only does it represent a change in policy of the traditionally GM-resistant EU, it also marks a departure from the collective decision-making tendencies of the body by deferring specific decisions on whether to grow the GM products to member countries themselves.

The GM Amflora potatoes are intended for industrial purposes, with the modification allowing the tuber to produce significantly more starch when manufacturing products such as paper and textiles. Conventional potatoes produce two types of starch; the Amflora consists nearly entirely of the type ideal for technical applications, reducing by-product and waste and optimising the use of potatoes for starch. These starch potatoes, the kind specifically used for industrial purposes, are most commonly grown and processed in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, and Poland. Already, BASF intends to plant the crop in Germany and the Czech Republic, with Sweden and the Netherlands expected to begin cultivating the crop shortly after.
Anti-GM = unscience. As if any reasonable person needed any more proof. Hopefully, this move by the EU will be the clincher in setting things straight there.