MEPs call on EU Commission to halt new gentically-modified maize authorisation

MEPs have this week opposed plans by the EU Commission, to authorise imports of food and feed products derived from, or containing, a herbicide and pest-resistant genetically-modified (GM) maize.

The stance was taken in a resolution vote on Wednesday, March 5, during a plenary session.

The non-binding resolution was reportedly adopted by 426 votes to 230. There were 38 abstentions.

The result of the vote highlights the lack of data on the many sub-combinations of the variety – all of which would also be authorised – and reiterates the Parliament’s call for a reform of the EU’s genetically-modified organism (GMO) authorisation procedure, according to MEPs.

Hundreds of comments criticising the plans were submitted by Member States during the three-month consultation period, they added.

These comments were allegedly caused by missing information and poorly-performed studies and tests.

Despite these concerns, MEPs claim that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) gave a favourable opinion on the authorisation plans on August 26, 2016.

A minority opinion voiced within the EFSA GMO panel stated that no specific data on any of the 20 sub-combinations had been provided by the applicant, MEPs said.

They also pointed out that the EU Commission is still authorising GMOs in the EU without the support of opinions of Member State committees.

This was supposed to be an exception to the usual decision-taking procedure, but has in fact become the norm, MEPs said.

The draft implementing decision by the European Commission would reportedly authorise GM maize Bt11 X 59122 X MIR604 X 1507 X GA21; as well as all 20 of the sub-combinations of its events.

In October 2015, it is believed 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 the Parliament.

MEPs are concerned that this law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro and anti-GMO countries.

They called on the Commission to table a new proposal.