CONTROVERSIAL ‘Frankenfood’ crops are expected to be given the green light today by the European Parliament.
MEPs will vote on whether or not to clear the block on growing genetically modified (GM) crops, that has prevented commercial cultivation for more than 10 years.
Spanish ministers, along with former Conservative Environment Secretary in the UK, Owen Paterson – who was sacked last year – are championing the changes.
Each country in the EU would be allowed to decide for itself whether or not to allow GM crop production, under the new rules.
The crop would, however, first have to be ruled safe by EFSA, the EU’s food safety body.
Even if a GM crop is banned in countries that oppose the changes – such as Germany, Italy and France – it can still be grown in supporting countries, such as Spain and the UK.
The changes could come into effect from as early as next year.
But there is concern among consumers that the crops pose risks to human health and the environment.
Critics fear that pollen from GM plants will spread to other conventional and organic crops, as well as honey, so polluting the entire food chain.
Supporters, however, claim that GM technology could be used to grow more food in areas struck by drought, or develop plants that are high in beneficial nutrients.
The changes would be breaking the principles of the EU, which has previously insisted that all member states should apply the same restrictions to food and farming.