An online petition has been launched aiming to collect one million signatures to ban the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops into Europe until further independent research is done. Campaign group Avvaz.org launched the campaign, acting through the "European Citizens' Initiative", a new initiative which allows one million EU citizens to submit official legal requests to the European Commission. The campaign retaliates against the decision made earlier this month to approve a GM potato to be grown on a commercial scale in the EU, the first such decision for 12 years. The potato, developed by BASF to contain a higher percentage of starch, was approved by EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, and is expected to be grown predominately in Germany, with authorization for use in animal feed. “Caving to the GM lobby, the commission has ignored 60% of Europeans who feel we have to get the facts first before growing foods that could pose a threat to our health and environment,”explained a spokesperson for Avvaz.org. “There is still no consensus on the long-term effects of GM crops, and it is the GM industry, pursuing profits not public well-being, that is funding the science and driving the regulatory environment. That is why European citizens are calling for more independent research, testing and precaution before crops are unleashed onto our land.” Once one million names have been collected, the petition will be delivered to the the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, calling for a moratorium on the introduction of GM crops into Europe and the establishment of an independent, ethical, scientific body to research the impact of GM crops and determine regulation. European citizens can click here to sign the petition.