Ministers remain split over authorisation of GM maize

July 23, 2004

Brussels, 22 Jul 2004

European ministers meeting in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 19 July were not able to resolve their differences over granting market authorisation for food and food ingredients derived from the genetically modified maize line NK 603.

In the provisional conclusions of the meeting, it was noted that: 'The Council concluded that the positions adopted by the delegations at the level of the Standing Committee have not changed sufficiently to allow for a decision to be reached on the Commission's proposal [...].'

It was in April 2001 that Monsanto originally submitted a request to authorities in the Netherlands to place foods and food ingredients derived from NK 603 on the market. Following an assessment carried out on the request of the Commission, the European Food Safety Authority concluded in November 2003 that NK 603 maize is as safe to the consumer as conventional varieties.

In a statement, the Commission said that: 'Ministers were asked to approve its authorisation for the use as food after a thorough scientific assessment has confirmed that the modified maize would be as safe as conventional maize.'

According to the procedure laid down in cases where the Council fails to reach a decision, the European Commission must now decide whether to approve the authorisation later this autumn. To download the provisional Council conclusions, please: click here

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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