No go for GMO, say Europe's farm ministers (26/4/2004)

For more on the regulatory shennanigans over GMOs, see: http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=3308

No go for GMO

Europe's farm ministers have failed to approve a new genetically modified corn for sale in the EU.  As expected by many EU insiders, Monday's agriculture council in Luxembourg failed to obtain a qualified majority for or against Swiss firm Syngenta's GM crop BT-11.

The biotech crop is struggling to get approval, having been rejected by the European Commission's regulatory committee made up of national representatives  in December last year.

Having now been rejected by ministers, it will return to the European Commission, which is expected to bypass Council concerns and approve its sale.

Certain types of worms can destroy fields of corn  or simply put consumers off by turning up in the end maize product and so Syngenta developed BT-11 to be resistant to these pests.

It is currently grown in the USA, Canada, Argentina, South Africa and Japan, as well as being sold in Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Korea.

According to studies, it enjoys higher sales in Canada than conventional corn.

Syngenta asked Europe to consider authorising the GMO in 1998, and it has since been declared safe for human consumption by the commission's scientific committee.

Authorisation at EU level would free the corn up for sale but not for growing.

And any food containing BT-11 has to be clearly labelled, under new GM laws in force this month, unless the contamination was unintended and made up less than 0.9 per cent of the final product.

A separate proposal to grow the gene-altered crop is currently with Europe's food safety authority EFSA.   

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