Belgian ministers yesterday [Monday] rejected an application by German biotech company Bayer CropScience to grow genetically modified oilseed rape in Belgium.
Bayer CropScience has applied to grow the crop in other EU countries, but may find it rejected across the board, as Belgium is likely to call on other EU countries to follow suit, reported the Guardian.
Belgian ministers were following the advice of their bio-safety advisers, who had referred to the results of recent UK crop trials. The trials showed that growing a variety of oilseed rape, genetically engineered to resist herbicide, reduced biodiversity because there were fewer weeds and wild plants for insects, small mammals and birds to live on.
A spokesman for Bayer CropScience Belgium voiced the company’s doubts about how the application was handled in Belgium.
“We have serious concerns about the way the Belgian government handled this. We believe the decision was highly influenced by Belgian politics,” Henk Joos was quoted by the Guardian as saying.
“The experts raised some concerns but indicated that with proper controls it would be possible to cultivate this crop without impacting on the environment.”
Despite refusing the application for the crop to be grown in Belgium, the government decided to allow GM oilseed rape to be imported and processed in the country, but only for use in fuel, not for human or animal consumption.