Biotech Updates

EU Ministers Call for Speedy GM Authorization Procedures

October 2, 2009

According to experts, livestock farmers in Europe will face a feed crisis unless the EU relaxes its rigid import rules on genetically modified crops, particularly its zero tolerance stance. No more soybean shipments are reaching the European shores from the United States, after several shipments were turned away due to presence of the unapproved GM maize varieties MON88017 and MIR604 , an article published by GMO Compass says. Given this situation, several agriculture ministers have called upon the EU to speed up its authorization procedure.

 EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has repeatedly urged for the EU Commission to speed up the approval of new GM varieties in vain. The required majority of Member States was not reached in a vote on the approval of MON88017 in the Standing Committee of the EU Commission last July. According to the article, it is also unlikely that a qualified majority will be reached by the Council of Agriculture Ministers on 19 October.

In the last Council of Ministers meeting, Danish food Minister Eva Kjer Hansen echoed Boel's call. She urged the EU commission to solve the feed industry's problem arising from region's zero tolerance stance on unapproved GMOs. "Tardiness and a policy of absolutely zero tolerance towards genetically modified organisms are damaging to food supplies in the European Union," Hansen. "The rigid interpretation of the zero tolerance policy is a technical problem that may have serious economic consequences for food supplies in the whole of the EU."

German state agriculture ministers also called for speedy authorization procedures for GM feed and for a "practical use of the zero tolerance regulation" at their autumn conference on 18 September.

The original article is available at