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Health Commissioner defends GM potato decision

brussels bureau

Health Commissioner defends GM potato decision


It was up to European Health and Consumer Commissioner John Dalli to announce that the genetically-modified potato may now be grown in the EU. Euronews asked him about the thinking behind the decision.

Sergio Cantone, euronews: “Why is the commisison giving this authorisation now?”

John Dalli, EU Health and Consumer Commissioner:
“We have to say that the process for authorising these products has been going on for many years. All the scientific evidence that is in front of us states that this potato and the other products are safe. Therefore, there is no reason why a decision should not be taken.”

Euronews: “Are you sure they are safe? Because there is this resistance to antibiotics which could be very dangerous for human health.”

Dally: “We are sure that all the factors are taken into consideration. And the analysis is the safety of these products.”

Euronews: “But these two antibiotics, neomycine and kanamycine are both against tuberculosis, and tuberculosis is still a very dangerous illness.”

Dalli: “But the fusion of any antimicrobial resistance is so remote that the assessment is that there is no danger at all to human life.”

Euronews: “What are they going to do now, the member states that are against this potato?”

Dalli: “Member states will be given the competence to decide themselves whether to grow any GMO that is approved for cultivation in Europe. The approval system is still a Union competence. Cultivation will become a member state competence.”

Euronews: “So the member states that want to cultivate will have a fast track way to cultivate GMOs because there won’t be any dialectics within the EU.”

Dalli: “It’s not a question of a fast track, it’s a question of…”

Euronews: “Of course: there won’t be any dialectic within the EU.”

Dalli: “No, no, the dialectic has finished. The decision has been made. These GMOs can be cultivated in Europe, and anybody who wants to cultivate can cultivate. Anybody who doesn’t want to cultivate will be given the authority not to cultivate, without any action being taken against them.”

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