BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has authorized imports of a genetically modified (GM) soybean type for sale across its 27 national markets for the next 10 years, the European Commission said on Thursday.
Developed and marketed by Monsanto, the soybean is destined for use in food and animal feed, not for growing. It is a second-generation GM product known by its code number MON 89788 and commercially as Roundup RReady2Yield.
The soybean is designed to resist glyphosate Roundup Ready herbicides and produce increased yields for farmers.
EU law allows for rubberstamp GMO authorizations when ministers cannot agree after a certain time. Since 2004, the Brussels-based European Commission has approved a string of GM products, nearly all maize, in this way, outraging green groups.
Europe's livestock and feed manufacturing industries have a keen interest in the EU authorizing more soybean imports since they depend heavily on shipments of soy products -- beans, meal -- as a source of protein-rich and high-quality feed.
EU countries produce a minimal amount of soybeans in terms of overall EU consumption, so imports are crucial. Soybean meal is the primary source of protein for the EU animal feed market, representing more than 60 percent of vegetable protein.
In September, the Commission issued a similar 10-year import approval for a GM herbicide-tolerant soybean developed by Bayer CropScience, known as A2704-12, also for use in food and animal feed.
(Reporting by Jeremy Smith; editing by Sue Thomas)