Report highlights political interference in evidence-based EU approvals process

The UK Government has published a report examining the balance of competences between the European Union and the United Kingdom in the area of animal health and welfare and food safety. The report is one of 32 that together analyse what membership of the EU means for the UK’s national interest. They aim to deepen public and parliamentary understanding of our relationship with the EU. Th report covers animal health (including veterinary medicines), animal welfare and food safety (including feed, food labelling and food compositional standards).

A full copy of the report can be found online here, but the extract higlighting political interference in the science-based approvals system for GM crops is follows:

"Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and new technologies

  • 2.56 The NFU and the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), the umbrella group for biotechnology industry, were among respondents who raised the issue of genetically modified food and feed.6 ABC argued that significant investment is needed to bring GM food and feed to the market and companies therefore need predictable and workable approval systems to avoid being put at a competitive disadvantage. They noted that while GM controls are broadly similar worldwide, the EU has a political ‘overlay’ that disrupts free trade and stifles innovation. The Brussels Workshop highlighted that the lack of a viable EU system to deal with the problem of low level presence of GMOs was a serious threat to competitiveness."

The report "does not predetermine or prejudge proposals that either Coalition party may make in the future for changes to the EU or about the appropriate balance of competences".