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APPROVAL: EU approves genetically modified soybean for import



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  EU APPROVES GENETICALLY MODIFIED SOYBEAN FOR IMPORT

SOURCE: Reuters, UK

AUTHOR: Jeremy Smith

URL:    http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE4B33GO20081204

DATE:   04.12.2008

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EU APPROVES GENETICALLY MODIFIED SOYBEAN FOR IMPORT

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has authorized imports of a genetically modified (GM) soybean type for sale across its 27 national markets for the next 10 years, the European Commission said on Thursday.

Developed and marketed by Monsanto, the soybean is destined to be imported for use in food and animal feed, not for growing. It is a second-generation GM product known by its code number MON 89788 and commercially as Roundup RReady2Yield.

The soybean is designed to resist glyphosate Roundup Ready herbicides and produce increased yields for farmers.

EU law allows for rubberstamp GMO approvals when ministers cannot, after a certain period, secure a consensus agreement under a complex weighted voting system -- a so-called qualified majority -- either to approve or reject the company application.

Since 2004, the Brussels-based European Commission has approved a string of GM products, nearly all maize, in this way, outraging green groups. But the pace of GMO approvals has still been very slow, to the frustration of the biotech industry.

?MON 89788 soybean underwent the full authorization procedure set out in the EU legislation,? the Commission said.

?The authorization is valid for 10 years, and any products produced from this GM soybean will be subject to the EU?s strict labeling and traceability rules,? it said in a statement.

Europe?s livestock and feed manufacturing industries have a keen interest in the EU authorizing more soybean imports since they depend heavily on shipments of soy products -- beans, meal -- as a source of protein-rich and high-quality feed.

EU countries produce a minimal amount of soybeans in terms of overall EU consumption, so imports are crucial. Soybean meal is the primary source of protein for the EU animal feed market, representing more than 60 percent of vegetable protein.

In September, the Commission issued a similar 10-year import approval for a GM herbicide-tolerant soybean developed by Bayer CropScience, known as A2704-12, also for use in food and animal feed.

(Reporting by Jeremy Smith; editing by Sue Thomas)



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  MONSANTO WINS EU APPROVAL FOR SECOND-GENERATION SOYBEANS

SOURCE: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, USA

AUTHOR: Jeffrey Tomich

URL:    http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/business/stories.nsf/business/manufacturingtechnology/story/499583175b26999b8625751600180def?OpenDocument

DATE:   05.12.2008

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MONSANTO WINS EU APPROVAL FOR SECOND-GENERATION SOYBEANS

Monsanto Co. cleared another regulatory hurdle Thursday as the European Union approved imports of the company?s second-generation biotech soybeans.

The decision means Monsanto Roundup Ready 2 Yield Soybeans can be made available across 27 EU countries for the next decade.

Approval by the EU regulator wasn?t unexpected. In September, the group approved imports of a genetically modified soybean from Monsanto rival Bayer CropScience AG.

Nonetheless, the EU?s stamp of approval is an important milestone for Monsanto as it prepares to roll out its first new herbicide-resistant soybean variety since 1996, said Ben Kampelman, a company spokesman.

For farmers, the timing of Thursday?s decision was also key because they ?are making their seed-buying decisions for next year,? said Jim Callanan, a spokesman for the Creve Coeur-based American Soybean Association.

Monsanto, also based in Creve Coeur, says its next-generation soybeans will boost yield 7 to 11 percent over existing Roundup Ready soybeans. And the new variety is genetically modified to withstand applications of glyphosate herbicide, making it easier for farmers to kill weeds.

The new soybeans will be introduced on 1 million to 2 million acres for the spring planting season as part of a limited release. A larger-scale launch of 5 million to 6 million acres is scheduled for 2010, the company said.

While genetically modified food and crops are controversial across Europe, the EU is an important customer for U.S. soybean farmers. Member nations bought $1.8 billion of soybeans and soybean meal during the past year, making it the second-largest buyer after China, according to the ASA.

Kevin McCarthy, a Bank of America analyst in New York, said Thursday in a research note that the EU decision represents ?an important milestone for Monsanto?s biotech soybean platform.?

The European Commission, the Brussels-based EU regulator, said the approval followed ?a favorable scientific assessment from the European Food Safety Authority,? which decided there is no risk to human or animal health or to the environment.

The decision follows similar decisions in recent months in China and other major U.S. soybeans importers.

BLOOMBERG NEWS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS STORY.


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