Agricultural biotechnology developments in the EU
The College of Commissioners Refer Cultivation Request to Council
On November 6, following the ECJ ruling that the Commission had failed to act, the College of the Commissioners referred a request to authorize cultivation of Pioneer Bt 1507 corn to the Council. We understand that it is unlikely that the request will be discussed during the Environment Council meeting scheduled for December 13, 2013, and will probably be discussed during the Agricultural Council meeting scheduled for January 27-28, 2014.
The College of the Commissioners also adopted the following import applications on November 6, 2013:
- Pollen produced from MON 810 corn for food (in line with the “GM honey” issue);
- MON89034×1507×MON88017×59122 corn stack plus combinations for food/feed import and processing;
- MON89034×1507×NK603 corn stack for food/feed import and processing.
Proposal to allow Member States to “opt out” cultivating EU approved biotech crops
Further to the College of the Commissioners’ recent referral of the request to authorize cultivation of Pioneer Bt 1507 corn, the Commission has requested a fresh debate on its “cultivation proposal” which is designed to allow MS to decide whether or not to allow the cultivation of approved biotech crops in their individual territories. The proposal requires approval by the Council and the Parliament. We understand that the proposal is likely to be discussed at the Environment Council scheduled for December 13, 2013. To date, there is not common position between the two institutions. However, the European Parliament has already adopted its opinion which would allow MS to restrict or prohibit cultivation of GMOs in their own territory on grounds other than those relating to risks to health and the environment (a safeguard clause) despite EFSA’s positive opinions.
EFSA Adopts An Inconclusive Opinion On GM 59122 Corn Cultivation Application Due To Its Potential Adverse Effects Of Non-Target organisms (NTOs)
On November 21, 2013, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms published a supplementary statement to its original positive opinion for GM 59122 corn cultivation application. As expected, the original positive opinion for its cultivation has become inconclusive, but there will be no impact on the positive assessments of 59122 corn regarding human and animal health. Therefore, the inconclusive opinion does not change the current EU approval for corn for food, feed, and imports.
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