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Thursday, 20 June 2013

EU countries in deadlock over GM maize approvals

EU member states failed on 10 June to agree on whether to approve three genetically modified maize varieties for use in food and feed.
As the bloc's standing committee on food chain and animal health failed to reach a majority either for or against, the decisions will pass to an appeal committee over the coming weeks, a Commission spokesman said. Should the appeal committee also be unable to reach an agreement, the Commission will be free to grant EU marketing approval.
Two of the applications are for maize varieties containing multiple or "stacked" gene traits. These are designed to protect the growing plants from multiple insect pests and both products are developed jointly by Monsanto Co and Dow Chemical Co. The authorisation would cover the use of imports in food and feed products sold in Europe.
The third approval covers the pollen of Monsanto's insect-resistant MON810 maize. This is the only genetically modified crop which is currently grown commercially in Europe. Five out of 27 EU member states grew MON810 maize. Spain was the top producer, followed by Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. Seven EU countries have introduced national "safeguard" bans on growing it: Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg.

The bid for approval followed a ruling by the Europe's highest court in 2011 that even small traces of the pollen in honey must receive EU authorisation before the product can be sold.

In 2010, the European Commission allowed national cultivation bans for GMOs, in a bid to break a deadlock in EU GM crop approvals which has seen only two varieties approved for cultivation in more than 12 years.

Source: Euractiv