Is Europe Opening to More Biotech?

Is Europe Opening to More Biotech?

Policy change could put decision to raise genetically modified crops in the hands of individual countries.

Europe may be overhauling its process for approving biotech crops. According to wire reports, the EU executive wants to let national governments make the decision of whether or not to grow genetically modified crops, bypassing the current review system.

The plan - seen by Reuters - would open the door to more acres of biotech crops planted in the region. And already there's a reaction from environmentalists who were already riled after the approval of a biotech potato in March. Current rules have kept cultivated acres of biotech crops to less than 220,000 acres for the region's 27-member nations.

The aim of the new proposal would allow those countries that want to grow biotech crops to proceed without the need for the EU parliament to weigh in on the final decision. Spain has already been a leader in cultivating biotech corn - even with limited acreage - but it is difficult to predict which countries would step up to the opportunity.

Currently, several companies that are leaders in biotech development are based in Europe - including Bayer, Syngenta and BASF. Ironically, the bulk of their development efforts are centered in the United States.

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