Results of GMO Vote
Against: Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal
Abstain: Germany, Spain
For: UK, Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Finland, Sweden
European member states have failed to support the application by US-based multinational Monsanto to import a new genetically modified (GM) maize into Europe. Earlier in the week Agriculture Ministers also failed to support a different maize application after disagreements emerged over its safety.
At today’s meeting of the EU´s Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, member states voted on the import of a GM maize called NK603 for human food. It has been genetically modified to be resistant to Monsanto´s herbicide called RoundUp. In February member states also failed to support the same GM crop for use as an animal feed.
Friends of the Earth is critical of the Monsanto application which:
* fails to look at the grain’s effects on subsequent generations, cumulative toxic effects and the effects on the health of sensitive consumers as required under EU food law (1)
* fails to explain or fully investigate unexpected discoveries occurring after the genetic modification (2)
* insufficiently investigated the possibility of the modification causing more allergies (3)
Adrian Bebb, GM Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“Once again there is no political or scientific consensus on the safety of genetically modified foods. Scientists cannot agree over its safety and the public does not want it but still we face endless attempts to force it down our throats. The public demands and expects safe food that comes from environmentally friendly farming.”
Also today, anti-GM campaigners have been protesting at the Annual General Meeting of Europe’s largest GM company, the German-based Bayer. They are protesting about Bayer’s involvement in GM crops and highlighted how Bayer’s GM plans have gone wrong, ranging from their recent withdraw from the UK market, the recommendation to ban their GM oilseed rape and the objections by EU member states and people in developing countries to their GM rice.
Geert Ritsema, GM Coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“It is about time that Bayer faces reality. GM foods are a failure. They are a risk to human health and the vast majority of consumers in Europe do not want them. Financial sense would dictate that Bayer should quit the GM business.”
Notes to Editors
1. Article 14(4) of Regulation 178/2002
2. Unexpected sequences discovered in the genome after the modification. Research shows that such sequences could shut down neighbouring genes.
3. International guidance on allergy testing that EU scientists produced in 2003 should mean that Monsanto would have to do more thorough testing.