Renewable Farming

Scotland’s government announces total ban on growing of GMO crops

Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, announced that the government will opt out of European Union regulations on GMO crops, and impose a total ban on growing such crops in Scotland.

This will include crops previously approved by the European Union.

He said, “There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers, and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector.”

The website Sustainable Pulse posted on Aug. 9 a detailed report of this action, which you can read at this link.

Lochhead added, “I have heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash. That is why I strongly support the continued application of the precautionary principle in relation to GM crops, and intend to take full advantage of the flexibility allowed under these new EU rules to ban GM crops from being grown in Scotland.”

That comment refers to a European Union decision to allow member states more freedom to control GMO technology within their national borders, instead of being forced to accept a decision from Brussels for the entire European Union.

Meanwhile back in the United States, the U.S. Senate could soon vote on a House-passed bill which would preclude U.S. state governments from requiring labeling of foods containing GMO content. 

The British Broadcasting Company website posted a report on the Scottish action, saying that “farming leaders” were disappointed with the move. One quote supporting that observation came from Huw Jones, professor of molecular genetics at Rothamsted Research, who said the announcement was a “sad day for science and a sad day for Scotland.”

The announcement made widespread news across Europe. Here’s how The Guardian newspaper fielded it.

A group called Bella Caledonia, which has the goal of a Scotland free of GMOs, published an extensive and logical analysis of the move.  Writer Mike Small noted that Scotland is following three principles:

1. The precautionary principle

2. The preventative principle

3. The democratic principle

Small also listed ten reasons why the world’s people do not need genetically modified foods.