The EU on Monday will come one step closer to ending its six-year moratorium on genetically modified food.
EU agriculture ministers meeting in Luxembourg will discuss whether a maize, called BT-11, should be given clearance to eventually hit Europe's supermarkets. Even if ministers fail to reach an agreement today, the decision will automatically be referred back to the European Commission for approval. A Commission spokesperson said last Friday that the Brussels executive would then give it the go ahead. Environmental groups are protesting the move. "There are too many question marks hanging over this food," said Geert Ritsema, GMO Coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe. "European countries should reject it outright. The public demands proper testing to ensure that this sweet corn poses no threat to our health." The EU has had a de facto ban on GM food since 1998. This moratorium was made official at an EU Environment Ministers Council meeting in June 1999 when five member states issued a declaration that they would effectively block new GMO approvals until there was new EU law on labelling and traceability. But since then, new labelling rules for food containing GM ingredients have been put into place. BT-11 is the first of about 30 GM products waiting for regulatory clearance. (EUobserver.com)