BASF Cultivating GM Potato in Europe

BASF announced they would be cultivating their genetically modified potatoes in Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands. What does this mean for a GMO-free Europe? Nothing, really. It just means genetically modified potatoes will be on American tables sooner.

BASF announced earlier this year that they would move their headquarters to North Carolina and focus on marketing their GM crops to more lucrative markets, like North and South America and Asia. The regulatory structures in many countries on those continents are more lenient towards corporations than most countries in Europe.

The test patches amount to less than a hectare and will grow the GM starch potato Modena and the GM blight-resistant potato Fortuna. The Amflora potato, which was genetically modified to be inedible to humans, appears to still be scrapped.

While BASF is continuing the long process of approval in Europe, they don’t seem to hold out much hope of getting it. These potatoes are being tested for foreign markets.

GM potatoes don’t look different from conventionally bred potatoes. Without labeling genetically engineered food, we won’t be able to tell which potatoes are which. American farmers won’t be able to sell to foreign markets because of the risk of mixing GM potatoes with conventional potatoes.

Three bills in the U.S. Congress would fix that, but they’re sitting in committee right now. The bills need your support to get moving.

Potatoes via Shutterstock

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