TTIP – a Trojan horse for GMOs in Europe

February 20, 2015 by Pat Thomas

If you want to know where someone stands on health and environment there can be few better barometers than their views on the Precautionary Principle.

The Precautionary Principle (PP), which is part of the regulatory framework in the EU, but not in the US or many other countries, is based on the idea of ‘forecaring’. It does not call for an abandonment of science, as so many detractors misleadingly suggest. It acknowledges that science, because of its limitations and uncertainties, is not able to provide an accurate prediction of future hazards.

The PP has come back into the fore recently as the US and EU hash-out a sweeping trade agreement known the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Protocol (TTIP). If you don’t know about the TTIP, you should.

Under the guise of everyone working together – ‘harmonisation’ in regulatory parlance – it promises to create massive profits and more jobs through trade liberalisation. All that we need to give up in return are some of our most basic approaches to health and safety.

The process of negotiation has been secretive and undemocratic. This secrecy is on-going, with nearly all information on negotiations coming from leaked documents and Freedom of Information requests, though in January the European Commission did release several  documents, including some negotiating texts, likely in response to public pressure by campaigns such as Stop TTIP, a petition that has gathered 1.25 million signatures against the toxic trade deal.

What is clear from recent reports is that EU negotiations over TTIP are more about pleasing the multinational corporations than they are about benefiting the people.

A new analysis, by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), for instance, tracks how CropLife America and the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) propose to use the ongoing Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations to lower levels of protection against toxic pesticides in the EU  to those in the US.

Another recent report from the Center for International Environmental Law (Ciel) argues that the European chemical industry wants the US system of chemical risk assessment to be adopted, which the group says would allow the use of over 80 pesticides currently banned in the EU.

And of course TTIP is a Trojan horse for opening up EU borders to imports of GM feed and food – a disaster for our farmers, for our environment and for our food.

European officials see this as a merere formality. This week at the USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum in the US, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, vowed that European Commission is “seeking to accelerate approvals of existing biotech traits” – something the US commodity, seed and biotech groups have been pressing hard for.

These negotiators may like to do their dirty work mostly behind doors, but If we want to keep the UK GM free we need to be very visible – and vocal.

Learn all you can about TTIP – and then vow to do what you can keep the pressure up. Beyond GM’s activities give you several very direct way to participate: via the UK visual petition GM Free Me, through growing UK networks such as Mums Say No to GMOs and via the Letter from America which continues to attract massive citizen and NGO support in the US, while here in the UK citizens are sending it to their MPs to voice their concern.

This year amongst our activities, we will also be taking the film GMO OMG around the UK to help stimulate discussion and action. If you’d like a showing in your local area please email:


Unlike many large campaigning organisations we do not have corporate sponsorship. This helps us maintain our independence, but it also means that we have to shout louder in order to compete for funds. If you value our work, and you are able to, please make a donation (via PayPal on any of our websites; or for larger donations please contact to help us keep moving forward and pushing for a GM free world.