Agriculture ministers from 10 EU countries blocked approval of three genetically modified varieties of maize for use on the European market.
The products had been given the all-clear by the EU’s food safety authority,
EFSA, which said they would not have adverse effects on health or the
Diplomats said Austria, Malta, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia,
Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg voted against, while France and Italy
abstained, ensuring a deadlock. Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden led
the group of biotech crop supporters.
This outcome reflects the continued
deep divisions among EU nations over whether biotech crops pose a risk to human
or animal health.
The failure to reach agreement means it will be left to
the EU’s executive commission to approve the three products, which it is
expected to do in the coming weeks.
The three varieties blocked come from
Pioneer Hi-Bred and Monsanto and are genetically modified to resist the corn
rootworm and be tolerant to herbicides.
All three products are meant to
be used in food and animal feed production but not used for cultivation in the
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