Plate on Scotland's flag

Europe currently maintains a tight leash on farmers in terms of what genetically modified (GM) crops they can use. Just one GM crop is cultivated in Europe right now: maize. Almost 60 GM crops are permitted to be imported and fed to livestock, and the European Union (EU) is in the process of allowing more widespread use of GM crops in the near future.

The European Commission has, however, proposed a new law that would let individual countries restrict or ban imported GM crops, even those authorized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). At least one country, Scotland, plans to take them up on that offer.

Scottish officials appear to be firm in their stance, saying they will opt out of any EU consent that would allow the cultivation of various approved GM plants. Even though GM foods have been proven to be safe, the country maintains they want to protect their "clean and green" brand reputation.

Ironically, Scottish scientists have taken a leading role in GM research. At this time, it appears the ban would not extend to scientific and experimental research.

It will, however, affect the country's livestock and crop farmers. The decision to ban the more widespread use of GM crops has been met with disappointment from people in both the agricultural and biotechnology fields, fearing these restrictions will make Scotland less competitive in the global market.

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