News 669 views last update:7 Aug 2012

EU ministers reach stalemate on GM crop decision

European farm ministers have failed to agree on whether to grant import approval to three genetically modified (GM) crops, which means the final decision now rests with the bloc's executive, diplomatic sources have said.

The ministers failed to decide whether to approve imports of a insect-resistant maize developed by US biotech firm Monsanto and a herbicide-tolerant GM cotton developed by Germany's Bayer, an EU source said.

They also did not agree on a third application: to update an existing EU approval for a pest- and herbicide-resistant maize developed by Dow to also cover its use as an animal feed additive.

All of the applications cover the import and sale of GM products such as animal feed but not their cultivation in the EU. The three applications have each already been cleared by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

EU ministers have never taken a decision either to reject or approve a GM crop application for import or cultivation, with governments constantly split along pro- and anti-GM lines. Europe has got itself into a bind on GM foods, with two crops currently authorised -- a maize strain for animal feed and a potato for paper-making -- but decisions on a lengthening list of other products are in deadlock.

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