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EU Ministers Still Split on GM Food

December 21, 2004

Europe remains deeply divided over the safety of genetically modified food after environment ministers failed to approve the introduction of a genetically modified oilseed rape on Monday.

Neither the ministers opposed nor those in favor achieved the necessary qualified majority to decide on the application. This leaves the final decision to approve GT73, as the rape is called, to the European Commission. "It will go back to the Commission now, probably in January, and the Commission has to approve it", an official told Reuters. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had given the new oilseed rape a positive opinion. But Eric Gall of Greenpeace said that "this oil-seed rape cannot be qualified as safe given the insufficient data provided. Any approval for GT73 would be like giving an award to a company for disregarding safety standards." If approved by the Commission it will be the third genetically modified product to be authorized since the EU restarted approving them for import in May 2004. (EUobserver.com)