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Poland To Campaign For GMO-Free European Union

Poland will propose to the European Union that it introduces a complete ban on cultivating, feeding or trading any genetically modified agricultural products, Farm Minister Marek Sawicki said Sept. 23.

The biggest ex-communist EU member does not have a proper overall GMO legal regulatory framework after attempts failed to reach a political agreement in the parliament.

Since we are unable to adjust our country law to the European regulations, and since we cannot be successful in writing down a full ban on freeing GMO organisms into the environment, then we have to try to change the EU law, he said.

Poland faces the threat of financial penalties for not aligning our law to the bloc s one, Sawicki told Reuters.

Poland, where farmers account to some 13 per cent of the population of 38 million, faces parliamentary elections on October 9 and parties are campaigning against genetically modified food products.

The idea is likely to face strong opposition from the European Commission which has sole power to propose changes to EU-wide rules on GMOs and from EU countries that grow GM crops commercially, such as Spain and Germany.

Sawicki added he flagged his idea to EU s farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos and the chair of the European Parliament s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Paolo De Castro, who agreed an EU-wide debate on GMO was needed.

Only two GM crops are currently approved for cultivation in Europe: Monsanto s insect-resistant MON 810 maize and BASF s Amflora potato. Spain was Europe s largest GM grower in 2010 with around 70,000 planted hectares, compared to about 150 million hectares worldwide.

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