GM Potato Cultivation Green Light by European Commission - But Not for Food

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Mar 3, 2010, 3:38:39 PM3/3/10
to കേരള ഫാര്‍മേഴ്സ്‌
The EU has approved the cultivation of a genetically modified potato
and the use of three types of altered maize, saying they don't pose a
health risk.
The go-ahead for the Amflora potato – developed by BASF SE, based in
Ludwigshafen, Germany – was the first green light in 12 years to grow
a genetically modified food in the EU.
Critics accused the European commission of pandering to corporate
interests at the expense of public health.
The EU executive also approved the marketing of three genetically
modified maize products from Monsanto, based in St Louis, Missouri,
for food and feed purposes – though not their cultivation.
The EU's public health commissioner, John Dalli, said the EU executive
is only guided by science in approving genetically modified organisms,
which is an issue of fierce debate in Europe.
"Responsible innovation will be my guiding principle when dealing with
innovative technologies," he said at a news conference. There were no
scientific reasons to delay the approvals, he said.

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.

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