EU to approve cultivation of another GM corn

The European Union has apparently cleared the way for farmers to grow Pioneer’s 1507 genetically modified corn. Ministers from 19 of the EU’s 28 member-nations voted against approval but the bloc’s weighted voting system resulted in a deadlock.

While France opposed approval, other heavy-hitters including Great Britain and Spain supported it. Germany abstained forcing the deadlock. As a result, the European Commission is now obligated to approve the variety. It is possible the Commission would allow individual member states to prohibit planting the variety.

Developed jointly by DuPont and Dow, Pioneer first sought EU approval of the European corn borer-resistant variety in 2001. The long-delayed approval process was pushed to a decision when a European court ruled last September that EU environmental ministers needed to rule on the request. The corn is allowed as a food and animal feed ingredient in the E.U. but it can’t be cultivated.

Up to now, the only genetically modified corn which can be grown in the EU is another corn-borer resistant variety, Monsanto’s MON 810, which was approved in 1998.

A statement from DuPont Pioneer:

DuPont Pioneer notes the outcome of the General Affairs Council vote on the approval of 1507 maize for cultivation in the European Union. We are now confident that the European Commission, based on the seven positive safety opinions published by EFSA, will adopt the decision for approval again as required under EU Law. 1507 maize meets all EU regulatory requirements and should be approved for cultivation without further delay. The European Union has a legal obligation to itself, to its farmers and scientists and to its trade partners to follow the revised EU biotech legislation and support the approval of safe agricultural biotechnology products in the European Union. Once 1507 cultivation approval is granted, we will collaborate with EU Member States that wish to commercialize the product and where severe target insect pest pressure is an issue. A comprehensive environmental monitoring plan comprising of case-specific monitoring and general surveillance will also be implemented in Member States where 1507 maize will be commercially cultivated.

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