The European Parliament has rejected a proposal that would have allowed EU states to ban the sale of genetically modified products (GMO) within their territory. The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety had already denounced the proposal, calling it 'unworkable'.
The committee said that because of the lack of internal borders in the EU, any ban would be unfeasible and would potentially "fragment the internal market and lead to a return to border inspections".
Giovanni La Via, whose recommendation to reject the proposal was approved by 577 votes to 75, said: "I believe that this proposal could have negative consequences for agriculture in the EU, which is heavily dependent on protein supplies from GMO sources. It could also have indirect negative effects on imports. Finally, there are concerns over whether this proposal could even be implemented, because there are no border controls in the EU."
Currently, there are 58 GMOs allowed for consumption in the EU - each one has to be authorised at EU level. There is only one GMO allowed to be cultivated - a maize modified to make it more insect-repellent that was mainly grown in Spain.
Countries ultimately decide whether to allow cultivation of GMO on their territory. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said the European Commission will not withdraw the proposal but that it will be discussed by EU ministers.