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Poland moves to ban GM crops

Poland has introduced a ban on the cultivation of genetically modified crops, making it the eighth country to do so.

On 2 January, Prime Minister Donald Tusk introduced a farming ban on two crops, the BASF’s Amflora potato and Monsanto’s MON 810 corn, on the basis that they pose a risk to the environment.

The crops have previously been declared safe by the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA), and are the only GM strains approved for commercial cultivation in the EU.

According to the Polish government, the two crops may be harmful because they could cross-pollinate with non-GM crops, and because pollen from MON 810 may find its way into honey. The national ban will enter into force on 28 January.

Poland’s announcement was welcomed by the Polish arm of the environmental organisation Greenpeace. “We are pleased that the government has kept its promise, and joined the group of progressive countries where GM crops are banned,” said the organisation’s Stop GMO campaign coordinator Joanna Bear. “However, now we need to make sure that the Commission does not successfully challenge the ban, and also ensure it is actually observed,” she said.

Poland’s announcement comes the day after an EU-wide approval for the two crops entered into force on 1 January. However, individual member states are permitted to circumvent this requirement — if they can provide adequate scientific justification for a ban.

The legislation makes Poland the eighth European country to prohibit GM crop cultivation, following bans introduced in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece and Bulgaria.