GENET archive


2-Plants: EU experts fail to agree GA21 GMO maize approval

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  EU Experts Fail to Agree GMO Maize Approval, Again
SOURCE: Reuters, by Jeremy Smith
DATE:   28 Apr 2005

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EU Experts Fail to Agree GMO Maize Approval, Again

BRUSSELS - EU food safety experts failed to agree on Wednesday on
authorising imports of a genetically modified (GMO) maize, revealing
their deadlock over biotech foods for the 10th time in a row, officials said.

 The herbicide-resistant maize, known as GA21, is made by US
agrochemicals giant Monsanto and designed for use as an ingredient in
food processing.

"It was a non-opinion," an official at the European Commission told
Reuters, indicating failure to reach a decision.

Eight countries voted in favour -- Belgium, Ireland, Latvia, Finland,
Sweden, the Czech Republic, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Voting
against were Austria, France, Luxembourg, Portugal and Slovakia.

The rest of the EU-25 abstained, except for Malta, Greece and Lithuania
who were not represented at the meeting.

Under the EU's weighted voting system there were insufficient votes for
the proposal to pass.

Monsanto applied for EU approval under a law covering food products and
ingredients derived from GMOs such as flour, starch or oil from a GMO
maize, paste or ketchup from a GMO tomato. Only products deemed safe for
human consumption may be marketed.

The lack of a decision on approving imports of the maize means the matter
passes to ministers, who will have three months to debate the proposal,
presented by the Commission -- the European Union's executive arm.

If they cannot agree, the Commission may adopt its proposal.

Since November 2003, the Commission has asked EU states 10 times to vote
on authorising a GMO food or feed product. In nine cases there was no
agreement and in one the deadlock around the table resulted in the vote
being postponed.

But the EU has not yet touched the more contentious issue of allowing new
GMO crops to be planted in Europe's fields -- the test of whether the
bloc's biotech ban is really over -- and just a handful of GMO crops have
won EU approval for growing. "These are desperate measures by the
European Commission to force GMO foods into Europe and yet again the
member states failed to support their ideas," said Adrian Bebb, GMO
campaigner at environment lobby group Friends of the Earth Europe.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Greenpeace comment
SOURCE: Greenpeace International European Unit, Belgium
DATE:   27 Apr 2005

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Greenpeace comment

Commission yet again fails to get approval for GMO Flawed authorisation
system risks leading to approval despite scientific concerns

The Commission failed this morning to gather support for the approval of
a genetically modified (GM) maize in a committee of member states
experts. No majority was reached for the authorisation to import GM maize
GA21, after 12 countries abstained, eight voted in favour and five voted
against. Monsanto's genetically modified maize GA21 is tolerant to the
company's glyphosate herbicide.

Despite continuing lack of support from member states, the current EU
authorisation process allows the Commission to approve genetically
modified organisms despite lack of support from member states.

Eric Gall of Greenpeace European Unit comments : "The modification has
led to unintended changes in the composition of the plant, which Monsanto
has dismissed simply to avoid having to carry out further tests. The fact
that the Commission will likely end up approving this GMO despite lack of
member state agreement makes a mockery of the authorisation system." [1]

As a result of this morning's failed decision, the GA21 application will
be put to a vote in the Council of Ministers later this year.

Greenpeace demands that the authorisation of this maize is rejected.

Eric Gall, tel 02 274 1906 or 0496 161 582

1. GA21 maize contains unwanted multiple copies of the inserted gene, as
a consequence of the process of genetic manipulation. In the documents
presented by Monsanto, unintended changes to the composition of the plant
- in the levels of minerals and amino acids - are dismissed as "unlikely
to be of biological significance". There is no definition of what
constitutes 'biological significance'.

Katharine Mill, media officer
Greenpeace European Unit
tel +32 2 274 1903/+32 496 156229

                                  PART III
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  EU asks nations to lift bans on several biotech crops
SOURCE: Associated Press / Ledger-Enquirer, USA
DATE:   26 Apr 2005

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EU asks nations to lift bans on several biotech crops

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The European Union's head office on Tuesday
asked five EU governments to lift bans on a range of biotech crops that
have been cleared by the bloc's food safety agency.

The European Commission called on Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, France
and Greece to end their national bans, which altogether affect three
types of corn and two varieties of oilseed.

The EU ended a six-year moratorium on accepting applications for new
genetically modified foods in May 2004, but several EU nations remain
reluctant to authorize biotech crops because of public health and
environment concerns.

The EU wants restrictions lifted on corn varieties T25 and MON810, which
are banned in Austria; maize Bt176, outlawed in Austria, Germany and
Luxembourg; oilseed MS1xRF1, banned in France; and oilseed Topas 19/2,
which is banned in France and Greece.

Governments have just over three months to lift the bans or face legal
action from the commission.

European concerns over genetically modified foods have been heightened in
recent weeks because of the discovery that animal feed containing an
unauthorized biotech corn had been imported by mistake from the United States.


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