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European Parliament News Item, 16 December 2015
The EU Commission should withdraw its authorisation of the use of glyphosate-tolerant GM maize NK603xT25 in food and feed, says a resolution voted by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs note that glyphosate, a herbicide, is classified as “probably carcinogenic” by the WHO. It urges the Commission to suspend any authorisations for GM food and feed as long as the authorisation procedure, currently under review, has not been improved.
Parliament notes that despite its longstanding concern that the EU’s GM food and feed authorisation procedure is not working well, the Commission on 4 December [See: 4 December 2015] authorised maize NK603xT25, along with another, MON87427, for use in food and feed.
MEPs point out that the herbicide glyphosate, which NK603xT25 maize tolerates (along with another herbicide, glufosinate ammonium), was classified as “probably carcinogenic” to humans on 20 March 2015 by the World Health Organization’s cancer agency.
However, the European Food Safety Authority said on 12 November that the herbicide was unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.
MEPs also point out that since the current GM authorisation process came into force, every GM authorisation decision has been taken by the Commission without the support of a qualified majority of member states. In effect, this turns what should be the exception into the norm.
The motion for a resolution was approved by 403 votes to 238, with 50 abstentions.
A separate EU law that would enable any EU member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by Parliament in October. MEPs are concerned that this law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries. They called on the Commission to table a new proposal.
Objection to invasive species list
MEPs also approved a non-binding resolution opposing a draft EU list of 36 invasive alien species (IAS), proposed by the Commission for the purpose of enforcing new rules to prevent their introduction or manage their spread. Many of the most problematic invasive alien species are missing from the draft, while at the same time, some species incapable of causing significant negative impacts are listed, say MEPs.