Syngenta retreats on approved GM corn because of consumer resistance (25/5/2004)

Note they may still try to sneak it in as animal feed if they get approval and sufficient interest

Consumer resistance puts GM corn on hold

In brief: Despite the Commission's recent authorisation of the GM corn Bt-11, the producer has announced that it will not commercialise it for the time being due to strong consumer resistance.

European consumers will not be offered GM corn in their supermarkets for the time being. Even after the recent authorisation of the product through the Commission, the Swiss company Syngenta has decided not to market its GM maize Bt-11 in the EU. As a reason for this, Syngenta cited the resistance of the European food industry to add GM corn to their product range.

In an interview with the French newspaper 'Les Echos', André Goig of Syngenta said that the food industry had clearly announced that they would not commercialise GM maize.

Mr Going stated that Syngenta was now trying to secure EU approval to cultivate Bt-11 for animal feed, saying that farmers were more likely to accept the product. However, this also would only be commercialised if and when clients were interested in using the maize.

On 19 May 2004, the Commission's approval of the genetically modified sweetcorn variety Bt-11 in fresh or canned form for human consumption put an end to the de facto moratorium on new GM products that has been in place in the EU since 1998.

The Bt-11 corn has been genetically modified to produce its own insecticide. According to the EU's new GMO legislation, which came into force on 18 April 2004, all products containing the corn will have to be clearly labelled. Grain from the corn variety has been authorised for EU import since 1998 and is already widely used in animal feed and food products such as oil, maize flour and sugar. At the moment, over 30 GM products and foods are awaiting approval for import into the EU.

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