www.czu.cz ; www.usab-tm.ro ; www.raupp.info
Europe's food safety agency gave a clean bill of health on Friday for the
planting of a genetically modified (GMO) maize, its second positive
assessment on the growing of biotech crops, May 2005 by Jeremy Smith.
The maize, a sweet variety known as Bt-11, is marketed by Swiss
agrochemicals company Syngenta and engineered to protect itself from attacks
by corn borer insects.
"The GMO panel concluded...there is no evidence to indicate that the placing
of Bt-11 maize and its derived products on the market is likely to cause
adverse effects on human or animal health or on the environment in the
context of its proposed use," the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
The only possible adverse effect might be a resistance to a new protein
introduced in corn borers that were exposed to the maize after several years
of growing, it said.
To delay the development of resistance to this, cultivation of the maize
should be accompanied by a risk management program, it said, without
EFSA's broadly positive assessment for Bt-11 maize is only the first step
toward possible EU approval for growing. While its opinion is needed for the
application to proceed, it will be many months before this is presented to
any EU panel of experts.
In March, EFSA cleared another GMO maize for cultivation -- the agency's
first foray into the politically sensitive issue of GMO crops that might be
grown in the European Union.
Set up in 2002, EFSA's views are used by the European Commission as
independent scientific opinion on the safety risk of GMO products for entry
into the food chain, for consumption by humans and animals and for release
into the environment.
While the EU has now lifted its 6-year ban on allowing imports of new GMOs,
there have no approvals since 1998 on any new gene-spliced crop that could
be planted in Europe's fields -- and the EU's 25 governments are deeply
divided on the issue.
A handful of GMO crops, mainly maize types, were authorized for growing
across the EU shortly before the moratorium began in 1998. No new crop has
been allowed for planting since then.
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