EU Commission caves in to biotech industry, Monsanto GM maize authorized
Friends of the Earth Europe
For immediate release
Brussels, January 13th, 2006 â" The European Commission today ignored environmental and health concerns of Member States and approved the import and use of three Monsanto genetically modified (GM) maize (1).
This authorization comes despite studies showing that farmers in the US and elsewhere are not seeing the reduced pesticide use and higher profits promised by the biotech industry.
Helen Holder, GMO campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "In whose interests is the EU commission acting? GM crops have failed, yet the Commission continues to authorize Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the EU despite there being no EU law protecting conventional and organic farming from genetic pollution."
"The EU Commission is going against the wish of European citizens, and does not have the required majority support from Member States for GMO approvals", she added
Since August, three other GMOs have been authorized by the Commission (2). "In all six cases, Member States' concerns were ignored because of the undemocratic EU system allowing the Commission to take a decision despite there not being a qualified majority in favour of GMOs in food and animal feed", Holder said.
All GMOs commercialized in the EU and worldwide have the same two traits: insect resistance and herbicide tolerance, which have no benefits for consumers. This is a poor result for 30 years of research and public money spending. With 70% of EU citizens opposed to GMOs, and a growing number of EU Regions stating their wish to be GM-free (3), the EU Commission is caving in to the biotech industry lobby and to US pressure.
Earlier this week, a report by Friends of the Earth made public Monsantoâs aim to genetically modify all of the European continentâs maize production between now and 2010. However, the number of EU countries and regions banning GM products has increased over recent years (4).
Contact: Helen Holder, +32 (0)2 542 01 82 (office) or +32 (0)4 74 857 638 (mobile)
(1) Monsanto maize GA21 (food and food ingredients); Monsanto maize MON 863 (food and food ingredients); Monsanto maize MON863x810 (import and processing)
(2) See list: http://www.foeeurope.org/GMOs/pending/approvals_timetable_Nov05.pdf
(3) 175 Regions throughout the EU have now declared themselves GMO free. See: www.gmofree-europe.org
(4) http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2006/who_benefits_from_gm_crops_Jan_2006.pdf, page 15
Friends of the Earth Europe campaigns for sustainable societies and for the protection of the environment. It unites 31 European organisations with thousands of local groups, and is part of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International.
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