News 204 views last update:6 Aug 2012

GM maize and beet applications debated

EU biotech experts will discuss three applications to approve new genetically modified (GMO) plants. Experts representing the EU's 25 national governments will discuss and possibly vote on the applications to authorize two modified maize hybrids and one GMO sugar beet.

"At the moment, I can see nothing that would not lead to a non-opinion," one EU official said. If the ministers cannot agree, again a likely scenario, then the European Commission , the EU's executive arm, usually issues its own authorization under a legal default process.

GMO authorization
Since the EU's six-year unofficial moratorium on approving new GMO products was lifted in 2004, the Commission has authorized more GMOs in this way. Although the European consumers are well known for their wariness towards GMO foods, the biotech industry insists its products are safe and no different from conventional foods.

Modified maize and beet
The first maize hybrid, submitted for EU approval by US biotech giant Monsanto, is known as MON810/NK603 and designed to resist certain insects and also glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. Monsanto's application relates to food and animal feed produced from the modified plants or containing ingredients derived from those plants.
The second GMO maize, a hybrid known as 1507/NK603, has been developed to resist certain field pests like the European corn borer, and also the herbicides glufosinate and glyphosate. The maize is jointly made by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a subsidiary of DuPont Co., and Dow AgroSciences unit Mycogen Seeds. Their application is for import and processing, for all food and feed uses, and all food, feed and processed products derived from the GMO maize plants.
The GMO sugar beet, called H7-1, was developed jointly by Monsanto and German plantbreeding company KWS SAAT AG to resist glyphosate-containing herbicides. The application relates to food and animal feed produced from the beet, for example sugar, syrup, dried pulp and molasses.

Related news stories:
New report: GM crops still not performing
GM crop production climbs by 180%
Monsanto seeks approval for new GM soybean

Related websites:
Pioneer Hi-Bred

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(Source: Reuters)

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