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2-Plants: EU authorises first GMO seeds for commercial use

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  EU authorises first GMO seeds for commercial use
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   8 Sep 2004 

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EU authorises first GMO seeds for commercial use

BRUSSELS, Sept 8 (Reuters) - The European Union approved on Wednesday the
first genetically modified (GMO) seeds for planting that may be sold
across the 25-nation bloc. But the European Commission was unable to
reach consensus on a proposal to set maximum levels of GMO content in
seeds -- one of the final pieces of the EU's raft of legislation to end
the bloc's nearly six-year ban on growing new types of GMO crops. The EU
executive authorised 17 different seed strains of maize engineered by
U.S. biotech giant Monsanto <MON.N> from a parent crop that won approval
for growing just before the EU began its biotech ban in 1998 that lasted
nearly six years. "The European Commission approved today the inscription
of 17 varieties derived from MON 810 maize in the Common EU Catalogue of
Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species," the Commission said in a
statement. "This maize has been authorised under the EU GM legislation
since 1998," it added. Before Wednesday's decision, the 17 seeds only had
national authorisations issued by France and Spain. This meant that only
farmers in those countries were able to buy and plant the seeds. Under an
established legal procedure, once an EU state gives the green light for a
seed to be sold on its territory -- and assuming all EU legislation is
complied with -- the Commission is obliged to extend that authorisation
onto an EU-wide basis. But the move has angered greens, who say it is
irresponsible to allow the widespread use of GMO seeds while many EU
countries have no laws on separating biotech and conventional crops. The
17 seeds will now be entered into what is called the Common Catalogue,
the EU's overall seed directory that compiles all national seed
catalogues. The parent maize seed, known as MON 810, has been engineered
to resist certain insects.


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