Politics / Law
Commission greenlights import of GM maize MIR604
With the authorisation on November 30 of the genetically modified (GM) maize MIR604, the European Commission has fulfilled the final requests made by US farming lobby groups and their European counterparts regarding the maize. MIR604 is authorised for the next ten years for food and feed uses, and for import and processing. This takes the number of GM maize lines approved by the European Commission to four within the last month. The US Grain Council, a farming lobby organisation, has been putting increasing pressure on the European Commission to wave through the four GM maize lines 59122xNK603 from Pioneer Hi-Bred, Monsanto's Mon88017 and 99034, and Syngenta's MIR604. Traces of these four lines have been found in soybean and soymeal shipments from the US, and have therefore been turned back at European ports (more…). The European grain and oilseeds trade association Coceral thus joined ranks with their US counterparts to lobby for the lifting of the zero tolerance policy oncerning traces of GM plants. The Commission has now solved the problem by authorising the import and processing of all GM maize lines in question. Mon88017 and 89034, and 59122xNK603, were already given a green light on October 30. The whole process has been relatively quick for European standards - all four GM plants had been awaiting authorisation for some years, with some queuing for approval since 2005. As with the other maize lines, the MIR604 maize received a positive safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and underwent the full authorisation procedure set out in EU legislation. Because the member states failed to return a qualified majority decision for or against this authorisation in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH), and then failed again to do so in the Council, the dossier was sent back to the Commission for adoption. Any products made using MIR604 maize will be subject to the EU's labelling and traceability regulations.