November 11, 2003



EU To Delay Verdict On Approval of GM Sweetcorn

EU officials have postponed their decision on whether to approve a new type of genetically modified sweetcorn that would end the EU moratorium on GM products.


Yesterday, a EU regulatory committee failed to approve the Bt-11 maize, marketed by the Swiss company Syngenta.


After a heated discussion, the committee declined to decide on a proposal from the EU Commission to allow the GM sweetcorn to be imported as food.


The EU Commission is expected to ask for a vote from the committee in December.


The Commission will then need a "qualified majority" of member states under the EU's weighted voting system to approve or reject the GM maize.


Friends of the Earth (FoE) supported the decision not to approve the new GM sweetcorn, but hit out at the UK Government for supporting the GM sweetcorn when it has not yet responded to the GM public debate.


FoE GM campaigner Clare Oxborrow said: "This is a victory for common sense. But once again the UK Government has chosen to back the biotech industry over the British public."


"It has gone behind our backs supporting this GM food when it hasn't even responded to the GM public debate, which makes a mockery of the debate and the Government promise to listen."


If eventually approved, the maize would be imported into the EU as a product to be eaten from the can, and not for planting, but such a decision would nonetheless spell the end of the GM moratorium in EU.

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