News 161 views last update:6 Aug 2012

EU fails to approve GM soybean variety

European Union biotech experts clashed on Monday on whether to authorize imports of a genetically modified soybean made by Monsanto, leaving the final decision to EU farm ministers, the EU executive said.

The soybean, a second-generation GM product known by its code number MON 89788, is designed to resist glyphosate Roundup Ready herbicides and also produce increased yields for farmers.

Monsanto's application for EU approval is for use in food and feed, not for cultivation in Europe's fields. 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.

After Monday's inconclusive vote by the national EU experts, the application will now be sent to ministers for discussion. However, if the ministers disagree after three months and fail to muster enough consensus under the EU's weighted voting system either to approve or reject the application, the European Commission -- the EU executive -- will issue a default approval.

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