EU experts scrap over GM maize

Deadlock in approval vote

EU food safety experts today failed to agree on whether or not to authorise a GM maize for food use. A European Commission official told Reuters that this was the 13th consecutive failure to agree over biotech products.

The offending maize - called 1507 and resistant to glufosinate-ammonium herbicide and some insects - is produced by DuPont Co. subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Dow AgroSciences offshoot Mycogen Seeds. The application was for deployment in starch, flour and corn syrups.

However, the experts representing the EU's 25 members failed to reach a majority and the matter will now go for consideration by the Council of EU ministers. If it can't get its act together within three months, "the Commission will adopt", as the unnamed official put it.

The latest GM polemic echoes the ongoing punch-up between the EU and the US over non-approved Bt10 corn seed which accidently got into the (animal) food chain, provoking the EU to block imports of US GM maize products unless "there is proof they are untainted by an illegal genetically modified organism".

The 1507 vote breaks down as follows:

For: Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Sweden, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

Against: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal and Slovenia.

The remaining nations abstained. ®

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