Biotech Corn Misses Hurdle in Europe

Roundup Ready corn event doesn't pass muster with EU environment ministers, but it has another chance with the European Commission, where approval is likely. Compiled by staff

Published on: Jun 29, 2004

While European officials profess they are more willing to accept biotech products into the region, a casual observer wouldn't be too sure. The latest evidence comes with the refusal of European Union environment ministers to approve a new corn event from Monsanto.

The EU environment ministers failed to approve NK603 - Monsanto's genetic event that confers glyphosate tolerance to corn. The ministers, under pressure from countries that are against biotech use - including Austria, Italy and Luxembourg - voted against allowing the crop to be imported into the region.

But that's not the end of the effort. The next step is to push the decision back to the EU Commission, which will make the final decision. Many observers think the commission will approve the biotech event. On June 25, the Commission found that the product was safe and that proper steps had been taken to allow its "labeling an traceability."

The Commission issued a statement saying a final decision on the product will be available within a few weeks. If approved it would allow use for 10 years within the EU, but just as animal feed, not for cultivation or human food.