July 18, 2013


Europe bans three genetically modified corn varieties


Europe has banned three genetically modified (GM) corn varieties for use in food and feed, including the use of GM corn imports in food and feed products sold in Europe, although there is little or no demand for GM food among EU consumers.


Two of the applications are for corn varieties containing multiple or "stacked" gene traits, designed to protect the growing plants from multiple insect pests and make them herbicide-tolerant. Both products were developed jointly by Monsanto Co and Dow Chemical Co. Neither variety is approved for cultivation in Europe.


The third covers the pollen of Monsanto's insect-resistant MON810 corn, the only genetically modified crop currently grown commercially in Europe.


The bid for approval followed a ruling by Europe's highest court in 2011 that even small traces of the pollen in honey must receive EU authorisation before the product can be sold.


Five of the 27 EU member states grew MON810 corn on 129,000 hectares in 2012, data from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) showed. Spain was the top producer, followed by Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania.


The Italian Government, meanwhile, has moved closer to a ban on genetically modified (GM) corn. According to Reuters, three Italian ministries signed a decree prohibiting the cultivation of Monsanto's MON810 corn, citing environmental concerns. The decree need to be published in the official gazette to become binding.

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