Progress of BT11 GM maize to market: Commission answers parliamentary question

October 24, 2003

Strasbourg, 23 October 2003

Verbatim report of proceedings on 23 October 2003, Part A

[Question in Greek]

Answer
The Honourable Member has referred to recent statements made by the Member of the Commission in charge of Health and Consumer Protection concerning GM authorisations and in particular the approval of BT11 sweet maize.

It is correct that product applications are moving through the approval procedures as foreseen in Community legislation. This is nothing new.

The authorisation procedure provides that a GM product has to be scientifically assessed for its risks to health and environment prior to its placing on the market.

If concluded to be safe and if the product fulfils all the necessary requirements in Community legislation, it can be placed on the market.

One of the product applications which has now reached that stage is the BT11 sweet maize. This GM maize is for approval for food use under the Novel Food Regulation.

BT11 has received a favourable opinion from the Scientific Committee on Food and since then the Commission has been in contact with the companies to establish the appropriate conditions for authorisation.

The Member of the Commission in charge of Health and Consumer Protection understands that we now have a validated a detection method for BT11 and therefore believes that we are ready to move forward and authorise the product in accordance with the Novel Food Regulation.

Applications are also moving through the procedure under Directive 2001/18 on the deliberate release of GMOs into the environment - for which the Member of the Commission in charge of Environment is responsible.

By proceeding with authorisations for products that have been concluded to be safe for health and the environment, the Commission is applying European legislation as agreed by the Council and the Parliament.

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