Scotland has taken a big stand against genetically modified foods, announcing earlier this week that it will formally prohibit the cultivation of any GMO crops within its borders.
“The Scottish Government will shortly submit a request that Scotland is excluded from any European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, including the variety of genetically modified maize already approved and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorization,” the Scottish Government said in a statement.
Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s environment secretary, cites protecting its “clean and green brand” and says there’s simply no evidence of high demand for GMOs among Scottish citizens. “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 £14bn food and drink sector,” he said.
“The move will reinforce a long-standing moratorium on planting GM crops in Scotland and allow the Scottish National party to further distance itself from the UK government,” reports the Guardian.
The move comes as England has taken steps to allow the commercial cultivation of GMO crops, including corn and canola, even despite consumer resistance and blowback from environmental and health groups.
Scotland officials say the ban doesn’t impact the nation’s scientific research on GMOs, which the nation is well-known for in the scientific community.
The announcement earned praise from environmental group, Friends of the Earth Scotland. Richard Dixon, director, said of the decision: “The Scottish government has been making anti-GM noises for some time, but the new Tory government has been trying to take us in the direction of GM being used in the UK, so it is very good news that Scottish ministers are taking that stance.
“If you are a whisky producer or breeding high-quality beef, you ought to be worried if you don’t want GM but it is going to come to a field near you and you were worried that there was going to be some contamination. It is certainly in Scotland’s interests to keep GM out of Scotland.”
Related on Organic Authority
GMO image via Shutterstock