A “hand-shake” agreement between the European Union’s Parliament and Council will reportedly end an ongoing dispute over member state control of internal food markets in relation to genetically modified organism (GMO) cultivation. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Adriukaitis reportedly said, “The agreement, if confirmed, would meet member states’ consistent calls since 2009, to have a final say on whether or not GMOs can be cultivated on their territory, in order to better take into account their national context and, above all, the views of their citizens.”

Under the proposal, each EU country would have the authority to prohibit or restrict GMO cultivation for reasons other than food safety, including those involving socioeconomic effects, environmental concerns and agricultural policy goals. Current law allows member states to petition the European Food Safety Authority to limit such cultivation, but they must present scientific evidence showing the product is not safe to consume.

A Green food safety spokesperson reportedly criticized the agreement, contending that it “leaves too many gaps, which could undermine the hand of those wanting to say ‘no’ to GMOs. Shifting to a ‘renationalization’ of decisions on GMO cultivation must be accompanied by a totally legally watertight basis for those countries wishing to opt out, otherwise it risks being a Trojan horse.” See Law360, December 5, 2014.


Issue 548

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.