GMO moratorium: victory for common sense

10 November 2003

EU countries block new GM sweet corn

Friends of the Earth Europe has welcomed the decision by European countries not to break the EU's de facto moratorium on new GMO foods. A EU regulatory committee today failed to support a proposal by the European Commission to approve a controversial genetically modified sweet corn. Friends of the Earth described the decision as a "victory for common sense".

Friends of the Earth was critical of the European Commission for proposing that the GM sweet corn, which has been modified to produce its own insecticide, should be allowed into shops in Europe. In particular the environmental group was concerned that:

* The new labelling and traceability regulations are still not in place

* The proposal bypasses the new GMO approval process which is more thorough and transparent and includes compulsory post-approval monitoring of health effects.

* Avoids the new European Food Safety Authority that has to take into account not only the short and long-term effects, but also effects on future generations, probable cumulative toxic effects and the effect on health sensitive consumers.

Geert Ritsema of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "European countries should be congratulated for not supporting this outrageous proposal from the Commission. This is a victory for common sense. Rather than trying to force these unwanted foods through out-dated laws the Commission should now make the biotech industry go through the more transparent and thorough approval process that will be applicable next year."

"Today's decision should be a wake-up call for the Commission to change their pro-GMO policies. They must now start to put the well-being of European citizens and their environment before the business interests of the US Government and the biotech industry."

Friends of the Earth, Europe's largest environmental network, were protesting outside the EU Council today with a giant "GMO Monster" tomato. Click on the images below to download hi-res versions. These pictures are free to use, but please credit them to Friends of the Earth Europe.

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