Brussels, 21 Sep 2005
In the absence of a qualified majority, on 20 September ministers in the Agriculture Council were unable to reach a decision for or against the authorisation of genetically modified (GM) 1507 maize for import, processing and feed use.
GM 1507 maize was developed for protection against specific lepidopteran pests such as the European corn borer. It also contains a gene providing tolerance to the herbicide glufosinate. The product is already approved in 12 countries around the world and has gained three positive opinions from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for its intended uses in the EU.
Last June, an EFSA GMO panel concluded that 1507 maize would not have an adverse effect on human and animal health or the environment in the context of its proposed use, and underlined the absence of any data to indicate that 1507 maize is any less safe than its conventional counterpart.
Europe's biotechnology industry regretted that the Council had again failed to reach an agreement on such an authorisation: 'We hope that more Member States will recognise the benefits of GMOs for Europe's agriculture, for the environment and for the developing world and evaluate them scientifically on a case by case basis.' said Simon Barber, Director of the plant biotechnology unit at EuropaBio, the EU association for bioindustries.
The industry at least took some comfort from the fact that more Member States voted positively for the approval of GM 1507 than when the dossier was before the Regulatory Committee in May. Denmark for example, one of the Member States previously in favour of an EU moratorium on GM products, voted in favour of the authorisation.
For further information, please consult the following web address:
http:///europa.eu.int/comm/biotechnolog y/ intro_en.html