The European Commission has authorised five genetically modified crops to be used for food and feed, including four types of maize and a variety of sugar beet, the latter of which was developed by Monsanto and Syngenta to be herbicide or insect resistant.
“All of the Member States had a right to express a view in the standing committee and subsequently the Appeals Committee, and the outcome is that the European Commission has the legal backing of the member states to proceed,” the European Commission said in a statement after the crops were cleared.
European Food Safety Authority authorisations are valid for 10 years and do not cover the use of these specific varieties of crops for cultivation as GMO cultivation is not common in the EU. Only two transgenic crops are authorised for cultivation in the European Union, which include Monsanto’s Bt maize MON 810 and the Amflora potato developed by BASF.
The MON 810 was genetically modified to produce its own toxins against infestation by Ostrinia nubilialis and the potato was developed for extra starch content, but also contains a marker gene for antibiotics resistance.
Less than half of the EU Member States grow MON 810, and six European countries have banned MON810 for environmental and health issues.
Each of the GM crops has been evaluated by the EU agency responsible for granting the necessary authorisations. The EFSA gave a favourable opinion in each case and according to EU law, manufacturers must clearly label the products that use those ingredients to inform consumers by stating ‘genetically modified’ or ‘produced from genetically modified.