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2-Plants: EU to debate approving two new GMO maizes this week



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  EU to debate approving two new GMO maizes next week
SOURCE: Reuters, by Jeremy Smith
DATE:   16 Sep 2005

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


EU to debate approving two new GMO maizes next week

BRUSSELS - Genetically modified (GMO) foods return to the European
Union's menu next week when experts and ministers consider authorising
two new GMO maizes and maybe break the EU's biotech deadlock, officials
said on Thursday.

Little progress is expected in either debate that would tip the balance
Df the EU's "pro" and "anti" camps, they said. This means that under EU
law, the European Commission would eventually end up issuing a
rubberstamp approval for both GMOs.

Despite last year's lifting of an effective biotech moratorium by a legal
default procedure, EU countries have not managed to agree by themselves
on a GMO approval since 1998.

The first maize up for debate, by a panel of EU-25 environment experts on
Monday, is a hybrid GMO made by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto for use in
industrial processing.

This is a cross between two distinct maize types known as MON 863, which
can provide plant protection against certain pests, specifically corn
rootworm, and MON 810, which is resistant to other pests such as
caterpillars and certain worms.

Producing hybrid maize involves making separate lines that are then
crossed to make a hybrid seed, allowing for desirable traits to be
selected to enhance agricultural performance.

The second GMO maize will be discussed by EU farm ministers on Tuesday
after an inconclusive vote by environment experts in May that led to the
dossier being escalated to ministers.

Very little has changed in voting positions since then.

"I don't expect any changes in those positions. I expect the Council (of
EU ministers) to reach its non-decision very quickly," a senior British
official representing the current EU presidency told a news briefing.

That maize, known by its code number 1507, is jointly made by Pioneer Hi-
Bred International, a subsidiary of DuPont Co., and Dow AgroSciences unit
Mycogen Seeds. Their application is for import and processing for animal
feed use.

In Europe, consumers have been far more reluctant than in the U.S. to
accept GMO products, often dubbed as "Frankenstein foods", while
manufacturers of GMO foods insist they are safe.


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

TITLE:  Two GMO votes next week: EFSA dismissed rat health problems in
both cases
SOURCE: Greenpeace European Unit, Belgium, Press Advisory
DATE:   16 Sep 2005

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


Two GMO votes next week: EFSA dismissed rat health problems in both cases

The European Commission will next week seek member state backing for the
import and sale in the EU of two genetically modified maize varieties
that gave rise to significant health effects in feeding trials.
Greenpeace has encouraged member states to oppose the placing on the
market of both GMOs.

On Monday 19 September, national experts will vote on a European Food
Safety Authority (EFSA) recommendation to import and use in food and feed
a Monsanto maize.

On Tuesday 20 September, agriculture ministers will vote on a different
GM maize, produced by Pioneer, for import and use in animal feed.

The Monsanto product is the first GM maize hybrid to be authorised in
Europe, and has been modified to produce two insecticidal toxins. It is
made using GM maize MON863, for which Monsanto attempted to suppress a
feeding trial on rats which showed significant negative health impacts on
the animals, and GM maize MON810. In feeding studies using the hybrid
(MON863xMON810), rats fed this GM maize had lighter kidneys and a lower
red-blood-cell count than rats fed conventional maize. The EFSA approved
the GMO. Greenpeace has called on the Commission to publish the full data
on the feeding trials, which have not been made public.

The Pioneer GM maize, 1507, also showed unintended effects, including a
decrease of white blood cell count in female rats fed the GM maize, in
contrast with the control group of rats fed conventional maize.
Greenpeace argues that these effects were not fully investigated by the
EFSA either.

"Regrettably, it is no longer a surprise that the EFSA should approve
GMOs that gave suspect results in tests. The status quo of unquestioning
approvals is an insult to the requirements of EU legislation on GMO risk
assessment. Member states should demand that GMO authorisation process is
reorganised, and reject authorisations in the meantime."

Contact Eric Gall, Greenpeace European Unit EU policy adviser on GMOs,
tel +32 2 274 1906 Katharine Mill, Greenpeace European Unit media
officer, tel +32 2 274 1903, katharine.mill@diala.greenpeace.org


Notes
- If the expert committee on Monday reaches no qualified majority, the
decision will pass to the Council of Ministers. In the event of a similar
outcome for Pioneer's GM maize 1507 at the Agriculture Council, the
decision reverts to the Commission.

- Greenpeace revealed the health impacts on rats fed GM maize MON863 on
22 June, after winning a court case in Germany to access the full feeding
trials data, which Monsanto had tried to suppress. Agriculture ministers
are expected to vote on the use of MON863 in food products in October 2005.


Katharine Mill
media officer
Greenpeace European Unit
t +32 (0)2 274 1903
m +32 (0)496 156229
latest news at http://eu.greenpeace.org




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