Genetically Modified Crops Score: EU 1, US 0

Posted on 28 January 2012 by Jerry

The worldwide war between chemical companies and environmentalists continues.  There was a victory of sorts this month when BASF, the world’s largest chemical company headquartered in Germany, announced it was no longer developing genetically modified plants solely for cultivation in Europe and was moving its plant-science headquarters from Germany to Raleigh, North Carolina.  When questioned, Stefan Marcinowski, a member of the BASF board of executive directors, cited “a lack of acceptance for this technology in many parts of Europe – from the majority of consumers, farmers and politicians.”  The company indicated it would increase its focus on selling these products in the Americas and Asia.

The back story of this announcement is that BASF is admitting defeat in its efforts to gain acceptance for its genetically modified crops in Europe.  After many years of lobbying and public debate of the merits of these crops, it has thrown in the towel.  As one would expect in a political process, chemical companies would secure regulatory approval from the European Commission (a political agency) only to encounter widespread and vocal opposition in the market.  This is one of those cases where corporate money and political influence was not enough to roll over market forces and consumer sentiment in individual countries.   BASF follows Monsanto who made a similar decision to not develop crops for the EU market some time ago.

This battle in Europe mirrors the struggle that is taking place worldwide where chemical companies are using money, political influence, and detractors charge, false claims to take genetic control of crops that feed the majority of the world’s population. It is not surprising that the two most technically developed regions in the world are at odds over genetic crop utilization. The United States pioneered genetic crop engineering following the lead of Monsanto, headquartered in Missouri, with its “Round-Up-Ready” crops, while the EU looked at the technology with far less enthusiasm and much greater consideration of the potential negative impacts.  Unfortunately, the chemical companies are making inroads in less developed and less sophisticated counties around the world having gained approvals in Africa, South America and smaller countries in Asia.

Use the following links for more information on genetically engineered crops around the world:

BASF relocation:

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/01/basf-abandons-gm-crop-market-in-europe.html

GM Crops in Europe:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/12/09/us-eu-gmo-petition-idUSTRE6B82JO20101209

GM Crops in Asia:

http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LB04Df03.html

GM Crops in Africa:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=kenya-to-green-light-genetically-modified-crops

GM Crops in South America:

http://healthfreedoms.org/2011/06/09/peru-approves-10-year-ban-on-gm-crops-brazil-speeds-up-approvals/

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Alan Says:

    Mr. Parrick,

    First time commenting tho I’ve been lurking for a bit. Ever surprised at how many Americans seem utterly ignorant to what they’re putting in their bodies and find it even more worrisome how little your government does to protect both you and your agriculturists. Glad to see people taking voice!

    But, the Argument amongst my wife and friends here (U.K.) is whether or not Brits and Europeans (the citizenry that is) would be any different if our experts weren’t watching out for us (since our leaders are beginning to fail to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jan/05/gm-food-crops-demand-prices )

    By the way, regarding your porpoises story and WWII marine impact, had you seen this? http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/02/26/undersea.munitions.cleanup/index.html

    Best wishes,

    Alan

  2. Jerry Parrick Says:

    Alan:
    Thank you for the links showing politicians in the UK in some cases are supporting incursions by genetically altered crops. Unfortunately the chemical companies like BASF and Monsanto are gigantic international heavyweights who are in this battle for the long pull. They have the resources and scope to fight a trench war all around the world as they attempt to own the world’s food supply or, at the very least, co-opt it through “unintentional” contamination of non GMO crops adjacent to GMO crops. They will use their money, influence and any other asset at our point of greatest weakness, politicians worldwide, to get what they want. We must be resolute in our determination to frustrate their plans. We must seek mandatory food labelling so our citizenry can help with market reaction to genetically modified foods.

    I personally believe we will all discover (see my article entitled “Where there’s toxins, there’s…what?) tangible evidence that the toxins produced by genetically modified crops are the smoking gun that proves the damage they are doing to our health. When this connection is made we will still have a battle on our hands, remember the years of “stonewall” by the tobacco industry.

    Also, thanks for the link showing the impact on sea life of discarded undersea munitions. While I still believe that America justifiably leads the world in may areas and am proud of my country, this is one of those areas where our actions are disappointing and inexcusable.

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