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.
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
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.
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
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.
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