Scotland is to ban the growing of genetically modified crops, the country’s rural affairs secretary has announced.
In a win for anti-GMO supporters, Richard Lochhead will request that Scotland be excluded from any European consents for the growing of GM crops, as the Scottish government was not prepared to gamble with the future of the countries food and drink sector.
Earlier last year, an amendment came into effect that allowed member states or devolved administrations to restrict or ban the growing of any GMOs within their territory.
However, not everyone is happy with this with this, Scott Walker, chief executive of NFU Scotland as well as farming leaders have said they were disappointed in this decision, though they are disappointed in this move, environmental groups have welcomed it.
Mr Lochhead said Scotland’s request for opt-outs from GM crop consent would cover an EU approved variety of genetically modified maize and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorisation.
He said that Scotland was known around the world for its “beautiful natural environment” and banning the growing of genetically modified crops would protect and further enhance its “clean, green status”.
Mr Lochhead added: “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.
“Scottish food and drink is valued at home and abroad for its natural, high quality which often attracts a premium price, and I have heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash.”
The announcement was welcomed by Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone, who agreed that the cultivation of GM crops would harm the country’s environment and reputation for high quality food and drink.
But she called on ministers to go further by challenging big retailers to improve their labelling to show whether meat, eggs and dairy products come from animals fed on GM feed.
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