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article imageEurope moves ahead with GM crops

By Tim Sandle     Feb 15, 2014 in Environment
The European Commission is set to approve a new strain of genetically modified maize. This is despite opposition from most member nations.
This week opponents of genetically modified crops failed to block the authorization of a new variety of genetically modified corn under European Union rules. The European Commission (EC) will now vote on whether or not to formally approve the new strain GM corn, called Pioneer 1507, for cultivation.
Genetically modified foods (sometimes called GM foods, or biotech foods) are foods derived from genetically modified microorganisms (often abbreviated to GMOs). The GMOs have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering technique.
According to the BBC, one GM maize - MON 810, made by US-based Monsanto - is cultivated in the EU. Spain is by far the biggest grower of MON 810 in Europe, with 116,306 hectares (287,400 acres).
The move to a vote is bizarre, Science Insider reports. Five of the European Union’s 28 member states—Estonia, Finland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom—approved to corn. However, 19 nations, including France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, and Poland, rejected it. Four countries, including Germany, abstained from the vote. However, due to of the E.U.’s complex approval system, which gives countries different numbers of votes on such issues, the EC will now vote on authorizing the cultivation of Pioneer 1507 on European soil, even though a majority of the member nations voted against it.
The genetically modified crop - Pioneer 1507 - was jointly developed by US-based agrochemical companies Dupont Pioneer and Dow Chemical. The genetically altered corn produces a toxin that acts as a pesticide against the European corn borer and contains genes that make it resistant to an herbicide.
The move has angered campaign groups like Friends of the Earth. In a statement the environmental group said: "If grown commercially, there is a risk that this maize will contribute to the decline in biodiversity as well as lead to the possible increase in use of a toxic and damaging herbicide."
More about gm crops, Gmo, Genetically modified, Europe, Corn
 
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