Archived press release
Monsanto GM Maize Not Authorised by EU Commission

EU Environment Ministers today failed to reach an agreement on a proposal by the European Commission to authorise the import of genetically modified maize NK 603, produced by the US company Monsanto. Eight EU ministers ( from Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg) voted against the proposal and three countries (Germany, Spain and Slovenia) abstained. Eleven countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden and UK) voted in favour. The positions of Poland and Malta remained unclear.

Friends of the Earth Europe's GM Campaign Coordinator Geert Ritsema said:

"This is the sixth time in a row that the European Commission has failed to convince the member states to approve a genetically modified organism. The Commission wants to show the public that there is a thorough safety assessment for any adverse impact on public health. What they achieve is the contrary. It is becoming more and more clear that the authorities in Europe are deeply divided over the subject of GM."

Friends of the Earth last week urged European environment ministers to reject Monsanto's GM maize because:

  • There has only been an analysis of the short term effects on human and animal health. There has been no analysis of the long term effects on subsequent generations and the effects on health sensitive consumers. This is in breach with article 14 of EU Regulation 178/2002.

  • There has been insufficient analysis of allergenicity. It is unacceptable that EFSA has dismissed the legitimate concerns raised by several Member States, about the suitability of the approach used for allerginicity testing [1].

The next vote on maize NK 603 will be by the EU agriculture ministers.

Monsanto's application for the import of NK 603 maize is in two parts. Today's vote was on the import for animal feed. Agriculture ministers will vote within three months on the use of NK 603 in food. If agriculture ministers fail to agree, it is up to the Commission to decide whether the import of NK 603 maize will be allowed without the support of member states.

Notes

[1] For a detailed FoEE briefing on genetically modified maize NK 603,
see http://www.foeeurope.org/GMOs/pending/nk603briefing.pdf (PDF format)

Votes on GMO approvals by member states

8 December 2003. Vote on BT11 at the Standing Committee on Food and Chain and Animal Health. Result: no qualified majority (qm). {in favour ES, IE, NL, FI, SW, UK; against: DK, GR, FR, LU, AT, PT; abstentions BE, DE, IT}

18 February 2004 ; Vote on NK 603 (C/ES/00/01) for import and use in feed and industrial processing at the Standing Committee of Release of GMOs into the Environment. Result: no qm {in favour ES, BE, FI, FR, IT, NL PT, SW, UK; against: LU, AT, DK, GR, IT, Abstention DE}

26 April Vote on BT11 at the Council of Agriculture. Result: no qm. {in favour: IE, NL, FI, SW, UK, IT; against: DK, GR, FR, LU, AT, PT, abstentions : BE, DE, ES}

30 April. Vote on NK 603 (NL 13/08/2002) for food. at the Standing Committee on Food and Chain and Animal Health. Result: no qm. {in favour IT, IE, NL, FI, SW, UK, FR, BE; against: DK, GR, FR, AT, PT, abstentions ES, DE }

16 June. Vote on GT 73 for import and use in feed and industrial processing at the Standing Committee of Release of GMOs into the Environment. Results: no qm {in favour: BE, CZ, FI, FR, NL. LV, PT, SK, SW, against: AT, CY, DK, EE, GR, HU, IT, MT, LT, LU, PL, UK, abstentions: DE, IE, ES, SI)

28 June. Vote on NK 603 (C/ES/00/01) for import and use in feed and industrial processing at the council of Environment Ministers

Document created with wvWare/wvWare version 0.7.2
-->


†To view PDF files you will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader. Visually impaired users can get extra help with these documents from access.adobe.com.

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

 

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust