GENTECH archive 8.96-97



Some lessons on democracy in the European Union:

12 member states of the European Union rejected to allow the BT corn to be imported to Europe,
however the European Commission, not elected in any democratic process, approved the
import of BT maize against the will of the  majority of the European consumers...

Regards,  Eckart



OTC 18.12.96 18:16 

Washington-Dec. 18-FWN--TODAY'S DECISION BY THE European Commission (EC) to
allow genetically modified corn from the U.S. into the Europe Union (EU) is being applauded at

"We're obviously very pleased with the decision, and as a result, U.S. corn to Europe will
proceed unimpeded," Tom Amontree, USDA press secretary told FWN. 

"It shows they (EU) reached the same conclusion that Canada, Japan and the U.S. have--that
it is scientifically sound," Amontree said. 

USDA is expected to issue a formal statement today on the EU's decision, according to USDA

Earlier today, the Commission moved to clear entry of genetically modified corn into the EU,
stating that there is no reason to believe that the genetic modification of the Bt-corn will give
rise to any adverse effects on human health from its use in human food, or have an adverse
affect on animals when used in feed. 

However, due to public concerns with genetically modified organisms, the EC has discussed the
question of labelling. The legal basis for the decision to authorize placing on the market of
genetically modified corn is Directive 90/220. According to the interpretation of the
Commission, the current provisions of the Directive do not allow the imposition of labelling to
indicate that a product is genetically modified in the absence of any link to risk assessment. 

In the EC's view it will be essential to solve this issue, in order to take into account the need to
inform consumers. A revision of Directive 90/220 is foreseen in 1997 and a report of the
implementation hereof has just been adopted by the EC, where the need for comprehensive
scientific evaluation and the need to consider the necessary rules concerning labelling was

Specific provisions on labelling are, however, already foreseen in the relevant product
legislation. The Commission notes the possibilities for labelling which follow from the recent
decision on the regulation on novel foods and will actively explore these possibilities. 

The EC received a letter Dec. 17 from Ciba-Geigy stating that: "We would like to re-affirm
our proposal to label the bags containing our seeds, indicating that the product has been
obtained using biotechnology techniques. We would also like to reiterate our readiness, if
necessary, to develop an insect resistance strategy and to implement monitoring for insect
resistance in Europe, in order to safeguard any concerns which may have been raised." 

The Commission today's decision as a positive signal to other producers of genetically
modified organisms which will submit applications for authorizations in the future. 

Copyright 1996