News last update:6 Aug 2012

Possible go-ahead for GM corn in EU

Farmers should be allowed to grow two new varieties of genetically modified crops in the European Union, the European Commission recommended on Wednesday. It is only the second time it has taken such a step in the past decade, a commission spokeswoman said.

The recommendation applies to two strains of genetically modified corn: Bt-11, developed by Syngenta, and 1507, created by a joint venture between Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a subsidiary of DuPont., and Mycogen Seeds, a unit of Dow Chemical.

Experts from the 27 EU national governments will vote at a meeting in February on allowing the cultivation of these corn strains, spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich said.

The EU is divided on the issue of genetically modified crops, making it unlikely that countries will muster enough support to either support or reject the commission's recommendation definitively. The commission makes the final decision in these circumstances.

Despite public opposition, the EU has approved a number of biotech plants for import in recent years. But the it hasn't given approval for European farmers to plant a biotech crop since 1998, when it approved a genetically modified corn developed by Monsanto, the only genetically modified crop that is allowed to be grown in the EU.

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