GENTECH archive 8.96-97

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Austria Bans Frankencorn



    BRUSSELS, Dec 23 (Reuter) - Environmental group Greenpeace welcomed on
Monday an Austrian government ban on imports of genetically modified U.S.
maize developed by Swiss Ciba-Geigy <CIGZn.S>. 

    "Austria has given the lead to other member states (of the European
Union)...Greenpeace urges them to follow the Austrian example and challenge
the Commission's decision," campaigner Michelle Sheathert said in a
statement. 

    Following scientific advice, the European Commission last week approved
the sale of the maize with as-yet unspecified labelling conditions, although
only France and Spain had supported the move. 

    Austrian Health Minister Christa Krammer told Austrian radio that the
government will ban imports from early January because insufficient work had
been done on the antibiotic gene in the maize. 

    The maize, which will be imported from the United States, carries an
antibiotic "marker gene" and has been genetically modified to resist a
herbicide and the corn borer pest. 

    Under EU rules, member states can challenge the Commission's decision if
they think it poses a risk to human health or to the environment. 

10:34 12-23-96