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Msg  787 of 795  at  10/31/2008 10:28:02 AM  by


EU Reaffirms GM Maize

From Reuters -

PARIS, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Europe's top food safety agency reaffirmed on Friday that two genetically modified (GMO) maize varieties, waiting for a green light to enter the European Union, were safe enough to be cultivated in the bloc.

The European Food Safety Authority's opinion on the Bt11 seed, developed by Swiss agrochemicals company Syngenta (SYNN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), and the 1507 made by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a unit of DuPont Co (DD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), and Dow AgroSciences (DOW.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) unit Mycogen Seeds, was seen paving the way for possible EU approval.

"The GMO Panel (of EFSA) reaffirms its previous conclusions on the environmental safety of maize Bt11 and 1507, expressed on 19 January 2005, 20 April 2005 and 7 November 2006," the said in an opinion released on its website.

The EFSA is based in Parma, Italy.

Its declaration on Bt11 and 1507 was issued on the same day as an opinion that France's ban on a genetically modified maize variety developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto (MON.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and already cleared in the European Union, was unjustified. [ID:nLV146217]

Dow AgroSciences greeted the EFSA's opinion.

"We welcome EFSA's assessment of this information and are not surprised by the content, which reflects the safety of 1507 maize," a spokesman of the company said.

"We now call for the approval of this product without further delay, to boost farmers' choice of insect resistant maize to cultivate in Europe."

Unlike in the United States and Latin America, where GM crops are common, many European countries doubt the safety of using genetic technology in agriculture.

But some members are favouring it and the EU's 27 countries consistently clash over whether to approve new, finished GM varieties for import. The Commission usually ends up issuing a rubber stamp approval, which it may do under EU law. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, Editing by Peter Blackburn)

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