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EU Prepares for Busy Timetable on GMO Votes

EU Prepares for Busy Timetable on GMO Votes
BRUSSELS - The European Commission has scheduled several meetings of EU ministers and member state experts in the coming weeks to debate approving new genetically modified (GMO) crops and foods, officials said on Wednesday.

The Commission, the EU's executive arm, has also scheduled discussions of various national GMO bans on particular GMO seeds and crops, which it wants the EU governments involved to lift.

These debates will be highly sensitive since they impinge on national sovereignty. Commission representatives will be present at all the meetings.

Following is a tentative timetable of the meetings with a brief description of the agendas:

MAY 17

Postal vote by EU food safety experts on GMO maize known as 1507 made by Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Mycogen Seeds for use in industrial processing, including in animal feed. Results of vote not expected until May 18.

MAY 18

Seeds committee; EU member state experts. Debate will focus on decisions by Poland and Hungary to ban 17 different varieties of GMO maize seed made by US biotech giant Monsanto.

MAY 19

Food/Feed committee; EU member state experts. Debate will focus on application to approve Monsanto's GMO maize known as MON 863 for use as an ingredient in processed foods; and also Pioneer/Mycogen's 1507 maize for use in food for human consumption. Neither application relates to cultivation.

JUNE 6 (to be confirmed)

"Deliberate Release" committee; EU environment experts. May discuss Pioneer/Mycogen application to approve 1507 maize for growing. If approved, this would be the first "live" GMO to be authorised for cultivation in the European Union since 1998.


Environment Council (EU ministers). Debate will focus on Commission's proposal to force Austria, France, Germany, Greece and Luxembourg to lift their various national GMO bans imposed between 1997 and 2000 on three maize and two rapeseed types; ministers will also discuss Monsanto's application to approve MON 863 maize for use in animal feed.

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