Although European Union countries have restricted the cultivating and research of genetically modified crops, British officials are urging the EU to ease restrictions.
British ministers are concerned that the EU will become a “museum of the 20th century” if it does not ease restrictions and consider more research and adoption of GM crops.
“We believe GM crops can help make agriculture more efficient and also, just as importantly, more sustainable by, for example, reducing the use of pesticides and the use of fossil fuels, said David Willetts, speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, as reported in The Times.
“There are just too many 21st-century technologies that Europe is just being very slow to adopt. One productive way forward is to have this discussion as part of a wider need for Europe to remain innovative, rather than a museum of 20th century technology.”
Several British GM supporters announced their support for increasing GM crop research and adoption at the festival this week. However, GM skeptics remain steadfast that GM crops should not be accepted throughout the EU.
BASF and Monsanto announced earlier this year they were withdrawing their GM operations in Europe because of the anti-GM sentiment.
Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, accused government ministers of ignoring a recent Food Standards Agency (FSA) study that found two in three people want any food derived from animals fed on GM to declare the fact on the label.
Melchett stressed that grain yields can be increased through breeding techniques that do not use genetic modification. He stressed that UK scientists had already increase wheat yields 30 percent without using GM.
The recent urging may be signaling an increasing divide between Britain and the rest of the EU over the use of genetically modified crops.