Confirming a December 2014 “hand-shake” agreement, the European Parliament has reportedly approved a law giving member states the authority to regulate the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within their borders. Until the new rules take effect in spring 2015, EU member states can limit cultivation of approved GMOs only if they present new evidence to the European Food Safety Authority that demonstrates the crop is not safe for consumption.

The new rules allow member states to prohibit GMO growth and cultivation on several grounds, including “town and country planning requirements, socio-economic impact, avoiding the unintended presence of GMOs in other products and farm policy objectives.” The legislation also creates a procedure allowing a GMO crop company to consent to proposed restrictions to avoid a unilateral ban on its product. Additional information about the 2014 political agreement appears in Issue 548 of this Update. See European Parliament Press Release, January 13, 2015.