June 29, 2004 -- CropChoice news -- Associated Press, 06/28/09:
EU governments deadlocked over approval of Monsanto
genetically modified corn product European Union governments
on Monday failed to agree on a contentious proposal
to approve a genetically modified corn made by a U.S.
company for use in processed food.
Diplomats said EU environment ministers meeting in
Luxembourg were deadlocked in a vote on giving approval
to the introduction of the corn product, known as NK603.
Nine EU countries - Latvia, Denmark, Cyprus, Hungary,
Malta, Italy, Greece, Austria and Luxembourg - voted
against the license, and two countries, Belgium and
Nine others, led by Britain and the Netherlands were
for the approval.
The stalemate however, will not prevent the EU's head
office from approving the corn for sale on the European
market. That decision is expected in the next few weeks,
The European Commission urged EU governments last Friday
to approve the corn hybrid, produced by Monsanto Co.
in St. Louis, Missouri, after it underwent "a thorough
safety assessment for any adverse impact on public health."
The union last month lifted its six-year moratorium
on approving genetically modified organisms. Under EU
rules, member states have three months to decide whether
to accept requests for biotech products for sale in
the EU. If they fail to reach a decision, it is left
to the Commission to decide on the application.
The stalemate reflects the deep divisions in Europe
over the use of biotech foods.
Genetically altered crops remain unpopular among many
consumers in the wake of recent food-related health
scares, from mad cow disease to poisoned poultry.
In May, a biotech variety of corn made by Switzerland's
Syngenta AG was approved for import and sale, but not
cultivation. It was the first such approval for a biotech
product in the EU since 1998, when a de facto moratorium
was imposed in response to public fears about the health
and safety of bioengineering.
The U.S. administration has accused the EU of violating
international trade rules by hindering the marketing
of genetically modified food.
Although it has welcomed the EU's lifting of a moratorium,
it continues with a complaint against Europe at the
World Trade Organization. An initial ruling is expected