BASF got approval from the European Commission for their Amflora potato, a genetically modified potato, in 2010. The European Commission then began pushing for EU member countries to grow the Amflora potato and other genetically modified crops.
The Amflora potato has been genetically modified so that its starch is 100% amylopectin, instead of the 80% amylopectin/20% amylose combination found in conventionally bred potatoes. Other food crops that naturally produce 100% amylopectin starch are glutinous rice and waxy corn.
The Amflora potato is licensed for industrial uses only. Amylopectin is used in industrial applications as an adhesive and in papermaking and other technical applications.
BASF announced earlier this year that they would be pulling the Amflora potato from the European markets and moving their gene research labs to the United States.
Monsanto v France
More recently, Monsanto decided to stop insisting that French farmers grow their genetically modified MON810 corn and pulled that from the market. The French government had banned the GM corn, but Monsanto took the fight to the EU Court of Justice and won. However, the French government said it would ban the crop for a different, legally acceptable reason and Monsanto has now quit the fight.
Back in the U.S. We Are
With Europe heading toward a GMO-free future, labeling of genetically modified crops from the United States becomes more important. Without the labeling, farmers who grow non-GMO crops will not be able to sell to countries that have banned GMOs.
No one can tell a genetically modified crop from a conventionally-bred crop just by looking at them. The Amflora potato looks just like any other potato. The MON810 corn looks just like other corn.
What Can You Do?
Sitting in the House of Representatives right now are three bills that would protect the economic interests of farmers and consumers, not just large corporations.
Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act requires labels on foods containing genetically engineered ingredients.
Genetically Engineered Safety Act prohibits human food crops from being genetically engineered to grow pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals.
Genetically Engineered Technology Farmer Protection Act puts into law rights that farmers have always had, but which are being reduced and done away with by certain business practices of major corporations.
Ask your representative to support those bills so that our farmers can continue to sell their crops to countries in Europe.
Field of potatoes photo via Shutterstock