Biotech industry withdraws GM foods

20 March 2007

UPDATE FOLLOWING THE MEETING: these GM crops will indeed now be phased out

Brussels, March 20th, 2007 - The European Union is today discussing the official withdrawal by the biotech industry of five genetically modified (GM) foods and crops, including the first GM crop that was ever grown in Europe. [1] Friends of the Earth Europe has highlighted this as further proof that GM crops are failing. [2]

Helen Holder, GMO campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"There is no market for GM food and crops, and companies are even withdrawing them from the market. European citizens want GM-free food and EU leaders need to take the necessary steps to make this happen."

"These genetically modified foods should have never been allowed to be grown in the first place, as no one knows the long term effects to both people and the environment."

Bans by EU Member States on three of these five GM crops were central to the transatlantic trade dispute in the World Trade Organisations (WTO) which ended in 2006. The WTO ruled that counties did have the right to prohibit GM crops but that the bans in the EU had not followed WTO procedures.

Helen Holder continued: "It is an absolute disgrace that European taxpayers money was spent defending a trade dispute about products that biotech companies were about to withdraw. The biotech industry should be forced to pay the EU compensation for the time and money they have wasted."

The withdrawals will be discussed at a meeting today of Member States following letters from the biotech industry stating that they will no longer be marketed as they are not grown "on a global basis". [3] The products include a controversial GM maize that was initially grown in Spain but was stopped following health concerns because it contains a resistance gene to the commonly used antibiotic, ampicillin. It was also central to environmental concerns in the United States after research indicated that it could damage the Monarch butterfly.[4]

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Notes:

[1] The first GM crop to be grown in Europe was genetically modified maize Bt176, produced by
Syngenta.

[2] A recent detailed study shows that environmentally-friendly farming will create more jobs
and make the EU more competitive than if it grows genetically modified (GM) crops, see files: FoEE: biotech MTR midlifecrisis (March07, pdf)

[3] Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health,
http://ec.europa.eu/food/committees/regulatory/scfcah/biosafety/agenda41_en.pdf

[4] The products being withdrawn are:
Genetically modified maize, Bt176 produced by Syngenta
Genetically modified oilseed rape, Ms1xRf1, produced by Bayer
Genetically modified oilseed rape, Ms1xRf2, produced by Bayer
Generically modified oilseed rape, Topas 19/2, produced by Bayer
Genetically modified maize, GA21xMON810, produced by Monsanto

European Commission proposals for withdrawals:
Withdrawal from the market of Bt176 (SYN-EV176-9) maize and its derived products
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/614r1-/614r1-en.pdf

Withdrawal from the market of Ms1xRf1 (ACS BNOO4 7xACS BNOO1 4) hybrid oilseed rape and its
derived products
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/615r1-/615r1-en.pdf

Withdrawal from the market of Ms1xRf2 (ACS BNOO4 7xACS BNOO2 5) hybrid oilseed rape and its
derived products
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/616r1-/616r1-en.pdf

Withdrawal from the market of Topas 19/2 (ACS BNOO7 1) oilseed rape and its derived products
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/617r1-/617r1-en.pdf

Withdrawal from the market of products derived from GA21xMON810 (MON OOO21 9xMON OO81O -6)
maize
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/618r1-/618r1-en.pdf

Syngenta Bt176 maize
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/614r1-/614r1-en.pdf

Bayer MS1/RF1 oilseed rape
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/615r1-/615r1-en.pdf

Bayer MS1/RF2 oilseed rape
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/616r1-/616r1-en.pdf

Bayer Falcon oilseed rape
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/617r1-/617r1-en.pdf

Monsanto GA21 x MON810 maize
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/dv/618r1-/618r1-en.pdf