EU execs back OK for genetically modified corn (Update)

Nov 06, 2013 by Raf Casert
European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg addresses the media, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. The European Union's executive Commission is backing plans to cultivate a genetically modified maize despite the objections of environmental groups which considers it dangerous. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

The European Union moved closer to approving the cultivation of a second genetically modified corn on the continent despite years of objections by environmental groups and widespread apprehension about GMO food among European consumers.

Wednesday's approval by the EU Commission, the bloc's executive arm, now sends the plan to approve DuPont-Pioneer Maize 1507 to the EU's 28 member nations for consideration—and could lead to a decision on the issue within months.

EU member states have sharply diverging views on the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms—commonly known as GMOs —and decisions have been often been deadlocked for years. A continued stalemate over the next few months would throw the issue back to the Commission, which could then make the decision itself.

Since DuPont Pioneer had first applied for approval to commercialize the cultivation in Europe 12 years ago, it welcomed the latest step.

"1507 maize meets all EU regulatory requirements and should be approved for cultivation without further delay," the company said in a statement.

Environmental groups sharply criticized the EU Commission for opening the door to further GMO cultivation in Europe.

"Instead of banning this toxic maize (corn) and protecting both consumers and the environment, the European Commission has buckled once again to industry pressure," said Mute Schimpf of Friends of the Earth Europe.

It said the GMO corn was highly toxic and would harm the delicate habitat of butterflies and moths.

DuPont Pioneer, however, insists that its 1507 corn is grown throughout the world and had received no less that 7 positive safety reports from the EU.

The EU has strict guidelines on authorizing and informing consumers about foods containing GMOs—a policy that has caused problems for producers of genetically modified seeds such as the U.S.-based Monsanto Co., which are used to less stringent rules around the world.

At the moment, Monsanto's MON 810 corn is the only GMO farm product cultivated in the EU, and even then, it only represents 1.35 percent of the EU's corn cultivation.

That contrasts sharply with the widespread use of GMOs in North and South America.

The European Commission also proposed to change the way that GMOs could be introduced in Europe, allowing individual member states to reject their cultivation based on a series of social or political grounds even if it has been approved throughout the EU on a scientific basis.

Explore further: Second GM corn set for EU approval after Court ruling

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Second GM corn set for EU approval after Court ruling

Oct 31, 2013

A second genetically-modified corn crop looks set for authorisation in the European Union unless there is a sudden change in the positions of divided governments or official scientific advice, EU sources ...

EU asks citizens to join debate on GM food

Jan 15, 2013

The European Union on Tuesday took the debate about genetically modified crops to the public with a survey asking citizens to share their thoughts on organic farming.

Italy asks EU to halt GM maize cultivation

Apr 04, 2013

The Italian government has asked the European Commission not to renew authorisation of a key genetically-modified corn, according to a letter seen by AFP on Thursday.

Poland bans cultivation of GM maize, potatoes

Jan 02, 2013

Poland on Wednesday imposed new bans on the cultivation of certain genetically modified strains of maize and potatoes, a day after an EU required green light for GM crops took effect.

Monsanto drops bid to grow new GM foods in EU

Jul 18, 2013

US agro-chemicals giant Monsanto said Thursday it will drop all requests to be allowed to grow new genetically modified foods in the European Union, which has for years held up approval.

EU to check US wheat for GM contamination

May 30, 2013

The European Commission said Thursday it has asked EU member states to check imports of wheat from the United States which may be tainted with a genetically modified strain made by US agrochemicals giant ...

Recommended for you

Project launched to study evolutionary history of fungi

15 hours ago

The University of California, Riverside is one of 11 collaborating institutions that have been funded a total of $2.5 million by the National Science Foundation for a project focused on studying zygomycetes – ancient li ...

Different watering regimes boost crop yields

18 hours ago

Watering tomato plants less frequently could improve yields in saline conditions, according to a study of the impact of water and soil salinity on vegetable crops.

Woolly mammoth genome sequencer at UWA

20 hours ago

How can a giant woolly mammoth which lived at least 200,000 years ago help to save the Tasmanian Devil from extinction? The answer lies in DNA, the carrier of genetic information.

User comments : 0