Owen Paterson is the UK’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We’ve known since at least a year ago that Mr Paterson loves GM (genetically modified, genetically engineered) crops.
So it’s no surprise to learn that Mr Paterson has been working with the biotech giants towards an ‘opt-out’ clause allowing European governments to make independent choices about GM crops. That clause would open the prospect of Roundup Ready (glyphosate-tolerant) crops here in England, although Scotland and Wales would probably refuse those crops. I don’t know what Northern Ireland will do about GM crops if the opt-out clause becomes law.
GM Watch says that the first GM crops likely to be approved for growing in England are glyphosate-tolerant varieties of maize (corn, Zea mays). We might see maize NK603 from Monsanto and maize GA21 from Syngenta.
I think that the opt-out clause is a terrible idea. But Mr Paterson thinks it’s great.
Today Liz O’Neill at GM Freeze tells us that the opt-out clause was voted through ‘to the next stage.’ That doesn’t mean that it’s become law yet, but it’s heading that way. ‘The proposal now moves to the EU [European Union] Parliament, and negotiations there are expected to be complex. We [GM Watch] will follow developments and offer renewed action advice as the proposal moves through the Parliament.’