GM maize Inconclusive EU vote offers green light

Agriculture ministers of 10 eu countries voted against the approval of three genetically modified (gm) varieties of maize for use in the European market on September 26, but failed to block it. The move reflects divisions among eu nations over whether gm crops pose a risk to health.

Austria, Malta, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium and Luxembourg voted against, while France and Italy abstained, ensuring a deadlock. The uk, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden led the group of gm crop supporters. The eu's food safety authority had earlier been given a clean bill of health to the products. The failure to reach an agreement means the eu's executive commission will now have to approve the gm products.

The three biotech maize types, two of them hybrids, will be imported for processing for all food and feed uses. They are jointly developed and marketed by us companies Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc and Mycogen Seeds, and are designed to resist insects like the corn root worm and be tolerant to herbicides. The third maize product, developed by us biotech firm Monsanto Co, is also insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant. The products are to be used in food and animal feed production but not used for cultivation within the eu.