EU governments may be able to ban the cultivation of GM foodstuffs on their territories in future on purely ethical and cultural grounds, a European Commission official has told just-food.

Speaking after Monday’s (20 December) debate at the EU Council of Ministers on a proposed new GM cultivation law, the official confirmed the Commission had been asked to list allowable reasons for banning GM farming that could – potentially – be written into the legislation.

Stressing that the list had not been finalised, the Commission official said the reasons would probably be “broad” in scope.

They could, he said, include “ethics; feasibility of controls [on GM crops]; social and cultural traditions; and socio-economic traditions”.

The legal status of this list has also to be decided – whether it is non-binding guidance or an integral part of the law. A council working party will discuss the issue again on 11 February.