March 3, 2015

 

EU stands by its GMO authorisation policy - EC spokesman

 

By Rick Alberto
 


The EU remains firm on its position on GMO authorisation, following a joint call of three EU feed millers' groups on the European Commission (EC) to immediately lift what they call as a "de facto" moratorium on genetically modified import authorisations.

 

The European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (Fefac), the oilseed crushers association Fediol and the cereals industry group Coceral early this month said the moratorium was posing as "further threats" to EU ood security and the economic sustainability of the food, feed and livestock sector.

 

Sought for a comment, Enrico Brivio, EC spokesman on health and food safety, told eFeedLink through e-mail on Thursday evening that the EC didn't have a "specific comment on the joint statement."

 

Brivio, however, stressed that a GMO can be commercialised in the EU "only if it has received a marketing authorisation following a case by case risk assessment of the highest possible standard, that is performed by the European Food Safety Authority and the Member States, and which demonstrates that it is safe for human and animal health and for the environment".

 

Brivio divulged that the GMO authorisation process, including for food and feed, was undergoing a review, whose result, he said, is expected to be released in spring.

 

"The Commission's ongoing work—following a commitment expressed by (EC) President (Jean-Claude) Juncker in his political guidelines last July—is to reflect on a new approach as regards the decision-making process of GM authorisation", he said.

 

Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg, was elected President on July 15 last year based on his political guidelines for the EC, which he presented ahead of the vote.

 

"I want a reasonable and balanced trade agreement with the US. But I will not sacrifice Europe's safety, health, social and data protection standards or our cultural diversity on the altar of free trade," he said then.

 

The groups claimed that the EU authorisation system for GMO imports was on hold since November 2013 due to "merely political considerations".

 

They further claimed that 12 GM crop import authorisations were awaiting final decision by the EC after the crop imports had been cleared by the European Food Safety Authority. The imports included Monsanto's Droughtgard corn, Vistive Gold soybeans and TruFlex Roundup Ready Canola, a BASF soybean trait, a Bayer cotton variety and a Pioneer soybean type.

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