Split decision leaves Europe's GM future in the air

December 8, 2003, just-food.com: With six member nations in favor of new biotech foods and six opposed, the European Union’s decision on whether or not to lift its five-year moratorium on biotech foods looks to be at least another 90 days away.

Experts from EU member states disbanded in a 6-6 stalemate with three abstentions on whether to allow the sale of Bt-11, a strain of genetically modified sweetcorn developed by Swiss firm Syngenta, reported Dow Jones International News.

If approved the corn will mark the first new gm-product approved for sale in the EU in the past five years and a mark change in policy that has been traditionally gm-leery.

Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK voted in favor of approving the product, while Austria, Denmark, France, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal voted against it. Belgium, Germany and Italy abstained.

The tied vote means that Syngenta’s application will now be sent to EU agriculture ministers, who will have a further 90 days to consider it.