Brussels, 29 Jun 2004
Following the EU regulatory experts' failure, on 16 June, to agree on whether to allow Monsanto's genetically modified (GM) corn to be used in processed food in Europe, EU environment ministers meeting on 28 June also failed to reach an agreement on another corn product, NK603.
It appears that the vote was evenly split, with nine countries voting against the use of NK603, nine in favour and four abstaining. This stalemate occurred despite the European Commission recommending approval. 'NK603 maize has undergone a thorough safety assessment for any adverse impact on public health on the basis of international guidelines,' said the Commission in a statement.
'There is clearly no majority backing for GMOs among EU governments or the public, yet the Commission persists in trying to impose them,' said Eric Gall of Greenpeace. Indeed, despite the deadlock, the Commission would still like to approve the corn for sale on the EU market.
'This is the sixth time in a row that the European Commission has failed to convince the Member States to approve a genetically modified organism. The Commission wants to show the public that there is a thorough safety assessment for any adverse impact on public health. What they achieve is the contrary. It is becoming more and more clear that the authorities in Europe are deeply divided over the subject of GM,' added Geert Ritsema from Friends of the Earth.