Little by little the European Union appears to be close to ending a five-year moratorium on biotech crops. The latest development involves Monsanto's NK603 corn variety, which the EU food safety experts were unable to gain enough support to approve.
A bureaucratic process has been set up that approves biotech varieties. The first stop is with the food safety experts. If they are unable to gain the necessary votes, it goes on to the Council of EU ministers from each nation. If the Council is unable to reach a clear consensus, the European Commission has the power to essentially rubberstamp approval to authorize imports.
Earlier this week, EU farm ministers sent approval for Syngenta's Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) 11 sweet corn back to the Commission. According to Reuters, the rubberstamp approval should come by late May or early June.
The EU's 15 member states will have three months to debate the proposal brought forward by the Commission. The maize is engineered to resist herbicide glyphosate. Monsanto is seeking approval for use in processed foods for human consumption, not for growing.