Germany's new food, agriculture, and consumer protection minister, Horst Seehofer, has announced strong support for genetically modified (GM) agriculture and crop research, a sharp reversal of the negative GM sentiment of his predecessor.

The shift in government thinking within Germany could have implications for European Union policy, as Germany is the EU's largest nation and also home to a strong anti-GM movement. Seed companies have made no secret of the fact that they see Germany as a key battleground in their quest to win global support for GM crops.

Seehofer voiced his support for GM crops and research in unusually strong language during a newspaper interview, whose publication triggered a flood of public statements from both GM supporters and opponents.

Specifically, Seehofer said the Agriculture Ministry would quit giving preferential treatment to organic farmers, as had been the case under former Agriculture Minister and Green party member Renate...

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