"Poland Holds the Key to a GMO Free Europe"
The recent call for a 'moratorium' on GMOs in Europe by the 'Conference of GM-Free Regions, Food and Democracy' (held in Lucerne, Switzerland, April 2009) reflects a growing groundswell of opposition from both European citizens and governments to the introduction of GMO into the food chain.
The outright ban of Monsanto's MON 810 genetically modified maize by France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Luxemburg, in the face of the European Commission's refusal to allow such bans, shows quite distincly that the tide has really turned against the genetic manipulation of our crops, animals and foods. Now a qualified majority of EU Countries are in favour of allowing Countries to ban GM plants and foods on the grounds that they are a danger to the environment and public health. The European Commission must therefore revise its strategy if it intends to maintain some authority.
Poland, however, has chosen to turn a blind eye to these events. Minister of Agriculture Sawicki and Minister of Environment, Nowicki, are proudly announcing that they have come to 'an agreement' with the EU to relieve the State of any responsibility for upholding Poland's current and future 'GMO Free Zones' and for protecting its borders. Under the new agreement, farmers are to be held responsible for creating their own GMO Free Zones, while special areas of the countryside will be designated for planting GM crops while 'co-existance' will be ensured through wider 'buffer zones' between GM and non GM crops.
The Coalition for a GMO Free Poland is totally opposed to this extraordinary relinquishing of responsibilty by the current government. It flies in the face of previous statements that "everything is being done" to prevent GM contamination of the food chain. By taking the classic 'Pontius Pilot' escape route, the government has ensured that the GM corporations are given what they wanted. It has also ensured that a bottle of vodka can likely mean that a 'blind eye' is turned by a neighbour who might protest GM crops being grown on his doorstep.
Submitting to corporate bribery is no way to protect the food safety and food sovereignity of a nation. There is now a last chance for this government to show a braver face and to stand in solidarity with other Countries that have successfully banned GM crops and seeds. Lending weight to the responsible decisions of this grouping of nations will ensure that the European Commission has no option but to change its rules.
(JR and JL May 2009)
P.S. If you can donate to our campaign please see http://icppc.pl/pl/gmo/eng_index.php?id=eng_donate
ICPPC - International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside,
Międzynarodowa Koalicja dla Ochrony Polskiej Wsi
34-146 Stryszów 156, Poland tel./fax +48 33 8797114
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