EU Commission renews bid to unblock GMO crop approvals
The maize variety covered by Wednesday's proposal is known as 1507, and is sold outside Europe under the Herculex brand name. Like MON810, the plant has been modified to produce its own insecticide against the European corn borer.
If the product is approved it is unlikely to lead to an overall expansion in GMO cultivation in Europe but could challenge sales of MON810, particularly in Europe's biggest market Spain.
Since the cultivation request was first lodged in 2001, the EU's food safety watchdog EFSA has delivered six positive scientific safety assessments on 1507.
Environmental campaigners say the Commission has failed to fully address concerns over the impact of the insecticide-producing crop on butterflies and other pollinators, despite requiring companies selling the crop to monitor its impact on "non-target" insects.
"The Commission is ignoring very real concerns about the harmful impacts of GM maize 1507 on butterflies, which are essential pollinators, as well as the risks of cross-contamination of conventional and organic crops," said French anti-GMO campaigner and Green MEP Jose Bove.
In a separate decision on Wednesday, the Commission granted import approval for three GMO maize varieties for use in food and feed after EU governments failed to reach a decision.
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