The genetically modified potato may be coming to a field near you! The European Commission has cleared the way for a variety of GM spud to be grown within the bloc if the individual state so desires. But EU members are hardly racing to plant.
So far, Italy and Austria have given a firm “no” to the crop and only Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic plan to plant either in the Spring or soon.
It is only the second GM product to be given EU Commission approval. – back in 1998 a form of Maize was cleared.
Frederic Vincent, European Commission Health spokesman was adamant the approval was good news.” For us it is clear that this development is of no risk to human health and is only for industrial use.”
The so called Amflora potato has been developed by the biotechnology firm BASF for its starch qualities which are of use in the manufacture of paper.Apparently it makes it glossier.
But environmental groups remain opposed to the introduction of GM crops.
José Bové who is a Green MEP explained:
“ If you plant the GM potato one year and a different one the next you can’t be sure you have harvested all the potatoes in the soil, so there will be contamination.”
The Commission has said it will impose strict conditions on the cultivation of Amflora but that it had based its decision on a volume of sound science. Although the potato will not be used for human consumption it will be used to make animal feed.