Commission approves new GMOs despite opposition from MEPs

The European Commission has adopted two Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) for food or feed uses, despite MEPs from the European Parliament opposing this.

The GMOs in question are MON87427 maize and NK603xT25 maize.

These GMOs have gone through the authorisation procedure foreseen by the legislation and have received a favourable scientific assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

However, MEPs said that the Commission should not authorise the use of glyphosate-tolerant GM maize NK603xT25 in food and feed.

MEPs said that the Commission should suspend any authorisations for GM food and feed as long as the procedure, currently under review, has not been improved.

In its resolution, the environment committee said that the current authorisation procedure for GM food and feed is not working well and all authorisations of such products should be suspended until it has been improved.

MEPs highlighted in the resolution the fact that since the current GMO authorisation process came into force each authorisation decision has been adopted by the Commission, without the support of a qualified majority of Member States, turning the exception into the norm.

GMOs authorisation process under review

The GM authorization process itself is under review, MEPs have said.

They note that a separate EU law that would enable any EU Member State to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by Parliament in October.

MEPs are concerned that the law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries and have called on the Commission to table a new proposal.

GMOs glyphosate tolerance

The environment committee also stresses that herbicide glyphosate, to which NK603xT25 maize confers tolerance (along with the herbicide glufosinate ammonium), was classified as probably carcinogenic to humans on March 20, 2015 by the specialised cancer agency of the World Health Organization.

The EFSA said on November 12, that the herbicide was unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.

Looking forward, the motion for a resolution, tabled by Bart Staes (Greens/EFA, BE), Guillaume Balas (S and D, FR), Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL, IE) and Eleonora Evi (EFDD, IT) was adopted by 40 votes to 26, with three abstentions.

It will be put to the vote by the full House during the January 18-21, plenary session in Strasbourg.

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