In a three-year game of international chess, the EU and US squared off at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in what was billed as a winner takes all game. At stake, consumer choice about what they put on their plate: the food they want to eat or the food genetic engineering companies want to sell. In the end, the game ended with no clear winner.
The US and EU are split over GE.
The US, with support from Canada and Argentina, wanted the EU to
acceptits genetically engineered (GE) produce. The EU responded to
itscitizens' wishes and opted for a more precautionary approach
toGE food. The WTO, while admitting that it could not decide
whether GEfood is safe or not, still decided that it was the best
judge of whatthe citizens of Europe should be eating.
"Allthis verdict proves is that the WTO is unqualified to deal
with complexscientific and environmental issues, as it puts trade
interests aboveall others. Its only effect has been to reinforce
the determination ofEU countries to resist bullying by
pro-genetic-engineering governmentsand to say no to GE crops and
food," said Eric Gall, Greenpeace EUpolicy adviser.
Both the EU and US will attempt to spin theverdict in their
favour in this case. In reality, the finalruling by the WTO has
given neither side in the dispute a clearvictory.
The pawns in this battle are the European farmers,consumers and
even the EU member states that want to maintain theirright to
determine whether or not they want GE crops to contaminatetheir
fields and food.
As the chess game was being played therest of the world simply
did what their citizens wanted. More and morecountries implemented
bans on GE organisms. So far 12 bans on specificGE organisms are
already in place in seven countries. Even as the WTOhanded down its
ruling, Poland is forging ahead with plans to ban thetrade and
growing of GE seed.
Poland is the second largestagricultural producer in the EU and
their act of solidarity withfarmers and consumers across the EU and
beyond sends a strong signalthat Poland and Europe have chosen the
road of GE-free rather thancontamination by GE crops.
After three years, the wrangling atthe WTO is over for now. But
the ruling won't silence the resistance toGE in Europe, and
individual governments are likely to defy the WTO foras long as
their people remain opposed to being force-fed products thatare
unsafe for the environment.
Click here for more information about
Keep your food GE free, sign the petition.
Help us stop GE food contaminating our food and environment.