The European Parliament has approved an agreement negotiated with EU ministers in December on legislation which will allow member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms in their own country, even if allowed at an EU level.
If approved by the European Council, the new legislation could come into force in the spring of 2015. Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis welcomed the vote, saying, “The European Parliament’s vote in favour of the legislative proposal on GMO cultivation brings us one step closer to providing Member States with tools to decide on cultivation of EU authorised GMOs on their territory, based on reasons other than risk on health and the environment.”
According to a leaked government email, the UK could use the new rules to fast track the approval of GM crops. According to excerpts of an email between Sarah Cundy, the UK’s head of GM policy and regulation, and the National Farmers’ Union, published in The Guardian Cundy states: “New [GM crop] applications should be approved much more quickly than has been the case until now.”