On 23 June 2015, the Swedish Minister for Rural Affairs Sven-Erik Bucht received sufficient support at the environmental and agricultural committee for the government to adopt a new GMO position.

The Swedish government’s new GMO position highlights that the government could possibly reach a different conclusion from the expert authorities in EU concerning a genetically modified crop to be approved for cultivation or not. If the GM crop is linked to the use of the herbicide glufosinate ammonium, Sweden will vote no.

The government may also choose to vote no on the cultivation of GM crops, which leads to the use of extraordinarily high levels of pesticides, even if the expert authorities do not foresee any environmental or health risks with the GMO.

“We do not want to encourage the use of chemicals,” the Minister for Rural Affairs told the Swedish farming newspaper ATL.

The question of how the assessment will be made if a crop leads to "extraordinary high levels of pesticides" is unclear.

Sweden has been one of the EU member states that has voted yes to GMO approvals in past years under the previous government, a centre-right political alliance. The current government was formed in October 2014 by the centre-left Red-Green coalition.

According to the Swedish Chemicals Agency, it is illegal to sell or use glufosinate ammonium herbicide in Sweden. Back in 2009, the chemical company Bayer recalled its glufosinate product Basta. Since 1 January 2011, sales of the herbicide by the company to retailers has been forbidden. Since 1 January 2012 it has been forbidden to sell the herbicide to end users. The use of the herbicide has been forbidden in Sweden since 1 January 2013.

Originally Published: GM Watch