Brussels region bans open-air GM crops


The government of the Brussels-Capital Region has become the first in Europe to ban the open-air cultivation of genetically modified crops

First in Europe to ban genetically modified crops

The Brussels-Capital Region has banned the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the open air, fearing the contamination of classic crops.

According to the region’s agriculture minister, Céline Fremault, who introduced the ban, it is almost unavoidable that pollen or seeds from the GMOs will contaminate ordinary crops – a position firmly opposed by those who support the use of GMOs. They point out that despite GMOs being cultivated now for some years, not a single case of cross-contamination has been seen.

According to the government, agricultural areas in Brussels – the region has some 650 hectares of farming land – are too close together to exclude the risk. Allowing both kinds of crops to grow side by side would be more costly than the extra economic value of the GM crops, Fremault said in a joint statement with the region’s environment minister Evelyne Huytebroeck.

The region stresses that its decision is not a commentary on the sale of GM products or on the larger environmental effects of the crops. Those are European and federal questions, said a Fremault spokesperson. According to the government, the decision means that Brussels is Europe’s first GMO-free region.

Photo courtesy Michael Cannon/Flickr Commons

Brussels region becomes first in Europe to ban genetically modified crops.

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