Polish ban on the use of certain GM and non-GM maize seed varieties authorised

May 9, 2006

Brussels, 08 May 2006

The European Commission has today decided to authorise a Polish ban on the use of 16 varieties of genetically modified (GM) maize and around 700 varieties of non-GM maize, throughout the whole country. These maize varieties are listed in the EU Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species, which means that their seeds can be marketed anywhere in the EU. However, Poland sent a request to the Commission for a national ban on the use of such varieties on the basis of Article 16(2)(b) of Directive 2002/53/EC , which states that a Member State may prohibit the use of a variety listed in the Common Catalogue if it is not suitable for cultivation in any part of its territory. In the case of both the GM and non-GM maize varieties in question, the varieties are known to have too high a maturity class to enable them to be cultivated in Poland. This means that these maize varieties are characterised by a long growing cycle and, under Polish climatic conditions, will not reach the necessary ripeness required at the harvesting stage. Member States experts voted unanimously in favour of the Decision to allow Poland to ban the use of these varieties in the Standing Committee on Seeds and Plant Propagating Material on 9 March 2006. Following today's decision, Poland may implement the ban immediately and it will remain in place for an unlimited period of time. For more information on GMOs, see: http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm

Midday Express MEX/06/0508

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