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Friday, 06 December 2013

Commission approves new GM products for food and feed uses

The European Commission proposed on Wednesday 6 November that governments approve genetically modified crops for cultivation in Europe, for use in food and feed as well as for import. The proposal covers an insect-resistant maize developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical which, if approved, would end Monsanto's current monopoly in Europe's tiny market for GMO crops. The Commission said it was "duty bound" to make the proposal after Europe's second-highest court in September censured the EU executive for lengthy delays in the approval process, first launched back in 2001.
The proposal comes after two inconclusive votes by the member states in June and July at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health and the Appeal Committee, respectively. These so-called “no decision votes” paved the way for the Commission to take a final decision.
During the previous vote, on 10 June, 13 member states, including Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the UK supported the authorization. However, 11 member states (Greece, France, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Poland and Slovenia) voiced their opposition. Germany, Bulgaria and Italy abstained. All member states upheld their positions in the vote at the Appeal Committee the following month.
EU governments now have three months to vote on the issue. The proposal is likely to face strong opposition from France, as well as Austria, Italy and other countries that have previously banned the growing of GMO crops. But with Britain, Spain and Sweden expected to back the proposal, there may be little that opponents can do to prevent approval. Under EU rules applying to the application, the Commission is obliged to approve cultivation unless a weighted majority of governments vote against it.
Seeking to head off criticism from anti-GMO governments and campaigners, the Commission called for the restart of stalled talks on draft EU rules to allow member states to decide individually whether to ban or restrict GMO cultivation.
Environmental campaigners say the Commission has failed to fully address concerns over the impact of the insecticide-producing crop on butterflies and other pollinators, despite requiring companies selling the crop to monitor its impact on "non-target" insects.

Source: Eurpolitics.info, Reuters