Brussels, 20 July 2004
Ministers did not approve nor reject with qualified majority the application of putting on the market the GM maize NK603. 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.
Following the legislative procedure foreseen in such cases it will now be for the European Commission to approve the authorisation in the autumn.
From the Council:
Genetically Modified Food NK 603
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 authorising the placing on the market of foods and food ingredients derived from genetically modified maize line NK 603 as novel foods or novel food ingredients (11068/04).
On 24 April 2001, Monsanto submitted, under Article 4 of the Novel Food Regulation (EC) N° 258/97 (as amended by Article 38 of Regulation 1829/2003 on GM food and feed), a request to the competent authorities of the Netherlands for the placing on the market of foods and food ingredients derived from genetically modified maize line NK 603 as novel foods or as novel food ingredients. The opinion of the European Food Safety Authority, requested by the Commission, was delivered on 25 November 2003 and concluded that NK 603 maize is as safe as conventional maize.
On 30 April 2004 and before the enlargement of the EU to 10 new Member States, the Commission submitted to the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) established by Regulation 178/2002 a draft decision for vote authorising the placing on the Community market of food and food ingredients derived from genetically modified maize line NK 603. The SCFCAH was unable to give an opinion since no qualified majority was reached.
It is recalled that the Council (Environment) on 28 June examined the Commission proposal for a Decision authorising the placing on the market of a maize product genetically modified for feed use under Directive 2001/18 on dissemination. No qualified majority was attained to adopt or to reject the proposal.
Full text of the Council report
From the Presidency
Genetically modified maize (NK 603)
The Council was not able to authorise by qualified majority or otherwise to block by minority the authorization of the placing on the market of foods and food ingredients derived form genetically modified maize line NK 603 as novel foods This means that the Commission will be able to adopt the decision as from 29th September.