Food Law News - EU - 2004

Commission Midday Express, 25 June 2004

GMOs - Commission proposes authorisation of NK603 maize

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Council Decision to authorise the placing on the market of foods and food ingredients derived from genetically modified maize line NK603. NK603 maize has undergone a thorough safety assessment for any adverse impact on public health on the basis of international guidelines. It has been assigned a unique identifier and a validated detection method in order to allow labelling and traceability according to the new rules. The authorisation, if granted, will be valid for 10 years. The maize and any products derived from the maize will be clearly labelled as being genetically modified. This proposal will now be transmitted to the Council of Ministers who will have to decide within three months whether to approve this authorisation or not. An authorisation under Directive 2001/18/EC is also pending for import and use of NK603 as feed and for industrial processing, on which the Council will decide on 28 June. If both proposals for NK603 were approved, it would make it possible to place on the market NK603 maize and derived products, such as starch, oil, maize gluten feed and maize meal for food and feed use, whereas the crop would be grown and harvested outside the EU. The EU has put in place a clear, transparent and stringent system to regulate genetically modified food, feed and plants over the past four years. The legislation ensures that GMOs authorised in the EU are safe for human consumption and for release into the environment. Clear labelling rules allow farmers to choose what to plant and consumers to choose what to buy. Each authorisation is granted on its own merits and requests for authorisations which do not fulfil all criteria were and will be rejected.

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