The first approval request for the Amflora dates back to 2003. Dalli
said the potato will produce starch for paper production to help save
"raw materials, energy, water and oil-based chemicals".
Though widely used in the US, genetically modified foods face
opposition in Europe, where critics see them as a health and
environmental risk. Opposition is strong in the UK, Austria, Italy,
Hungary, Greece and France.Some EU countries ban them, fearing their
seeds will accidentally spread and alter the natural surroundings;
others do not.
Martin Haeusling, a Green EU Parliament member, said Dalli showed
"flagrant support for industry interests", claiming 70% of EU
consumers oppose genetically manipulated food. "There are serious
concerns about an Amflora gene that is resistant to antibiotics," he
Heike Moldenhauer, a spokesperson for the Friends of the Earth Europe
environmental group, said the EU decision "puts profit before
people ... There are clear health concerns surrounding this GM
The Italian government also objected. "We are against the decision ...
that grants the permission to cultivate a genetically modified
potato," said Italy's agriculture minister, Luca Zaia.
The German government said the Amflora potato will be grown in eastern
Germany but not on an industrial scale.
Amflora and the three genetically modified maize varieties had already
been approved by the European Food Safety Authority.
Dalli approved the three maize varieties after EU governments failed
to come to an agreement on the issue, effectively leaving the decision
to the EU executive.