20 January 2014, 23:00

GMO maize crop presents significant risks to nature, human health - EU MP

GMO maize crop presents significant risks to nature, human health - EU MP

The Members of the European Parliament have urged the European Commission not to allow the genetically modified maize crop Pioneer 1507 on the EU market. According to a recently approved resolution this insect-resistant crop could be dangerous to harmless butterflies and moths. Sirpa Pietikainen, member of European Parliament, European People's Party, talked with the Voice of Russia about the danger of GMO crops and their side-effects on human health.

What was behind the decision not to allow the GMO maize crop on the EU market? 

Firstly, the commission exceeded its powers because the EFSA, the agency that is responsible for food safety didn’t recommend the allowance of this GMO manipulated maize because there are not adequate numbers of studies what are the risks because it is more than 300 times more potent pesticide than the normal maize.

And the second point of course is that we should have a very specific precautionary principle with the GMOs because once we get them out, it is very difficult to control them, and quite a number of those impacts are going to be seen after a very long time.

Why is there such a controversy surrounding GMOs? 

There are specific risks of GMOs, one is, to make a bit of a naïve example, if nature would decide to combine a fish and a tomato, it would take couple of millions of years to do, and while humans are doing the GMO, genetic manipulation, it introduces new features, and I am quite certain that they are not explicit, quick risks for the health of the consumers of those GMOs but the question is what are the interactions with the rest of the nature.

We have seen already very problematic examples like it has overpowered the natural species, it has created unit culture, it has created non-fertile offsprings, if you can call vegetation offsprings, and non-fertile seeds when it has been cross-spreading with natural species.

And then of course when it comes to pesticides, it has unintended not known consequences for the bees, butterflies and other insects, and various others.

Are any other GMOs currently authorized to be cultivated for commercial use in the EU? 

Not at the moment. The commission actually granted a permission for Amflora potato but when the court of EU was studying the case, it launched its decision in the end of last year where it concluded that the commission had exceeded its power with the potato because the food agency didn’t recommend the allowance of the commission for it.

What are some positives attributed to GMO crops?

In some of the cases it can be, when they are on restricted area. Let’s pick up for example the blue cheese. There is GMO bacteria that is used in the production of the blue cheese. So, there you can use it safely. But then again when it goes to outside the laboratories, the problem and the risks are far greater than the benefits. So, I am very doubtful on the use of GMOs.

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