16 July, Brussels - Friends of the Earth Europe has welcomed EU member states' rejection of the latest application to grow GMOs in Europe, as the EU Agriculture Council today failed to approve the commercial growing of a genetically modified potato. There have now been no new GMOs grown in the EU for ten years.
Helen Holder, GMO Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"Too few EU member states support growing genetically modified crops, and now yet another has been refused authorisation. National governments recognised the safety risks of growing this GM potato, as they have with previous applications. Now the decision is in the hands of the European Commission and we urge it to reject it too."
Today's vote was on an application to grow the genetically modified potato for use in industrial processes like making paper. The producer - German chemicals giant BASF - has also applied for approval to use the same potato in food and animal feed and acknowledges that contamination of the food chain is possible.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) gave the GM potato the green light, but has been criticized for overlooking several important health and environmental risks:
* The risk of contaminating future crops is ignored. As they grow underground, it is virtually impossible to harvest all potatoes from a crop. Potatoes therefore grow back the following years and future crops could be contaminated with the genetically modified variant.
"No new GMOs have been grown in the European Union for 10 years now and research show that GMOs actually stimulate the economy less than green farming measures. It is time to accept that there is simply no market for genetically modified crops."
"The big GMO companies claim that using genetically modified potatoes in industrial processes is an environmentally-friendly option, but this is absurd considering the associated health and environmental risks," Ms Holder added.
 Application for cultivation of Amylopectin Potato Event EH92-527-1 according to Directive
 Application for Amylopectin Potato Event EH92-527-1 according to Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003, BASF Plant Sciences.