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Poland pledges to defend ban on genetically modified crops

Poland's government will defend its ban on genetically modified foods against any European Union demands to allow the planting of biotech crops, Environment Minister Jan Szyszko said.

„Poland is to be free of food produced on the basis of genetically modified organisms,” Szyszko said at a news conference today, adding that a bill the government sent to parliament this week will maintain the current ban. „We believe this is in accordance with the European Union's directives,” Szyszko said. „Of course, there are other opinions and we will now discuss this with the European Commission.” About 95% of Poles oppose allowing the new crops, Szyszko said, citing opinion polls. Some EU members, including Austria, refuse to allow the crops to be planted, ignoring approvals for several strains by EU regulators since a ban expired in 2004 and a World Trade Organization ruling last year. (Bloomberg)