Ban sought on EU-licensed GM maize

Friends of the Earth alleges "glaring deficiencies" in scientific data provided to regulators

A type of genetically-modified maize with EU marketing approval since 1998 should be banned because of flaws in the scientific data advanced during the licensing process, Friends of the Earth (FoE) Europe said on Friday. The group claimed that information on the "T25" event provided by Franco-German biotech company Aventis (formerly AgrEvo) had involved "a catalogue of bad decisions and bad science".

It alleges that Aventis failed to study the effects of eating T25 maize on cows despite seeking approval for marketing as cattle fodder. The company also failed to investigate fully "significant compositional differences" between conventional and T25 maize, says FoE. "We believe that there is overwhelming evidence to suspend T25's authorisation," FoE campaigner Adrian Bebb told ENDS Daily.

Aventis rejected FoE's claims. The group doesn't have access to all the data provided to EU regulators to support T25, an Aventis spokesperson told ENDS Daily, and has therefore come to an erroneous conclusion.

T25 is no stranger to controversy, having already been banned unilaterally by Austria and Italy due to concerns over environmental and human health risks. On the other hand, EU scientists have found both countries' moves to be scientifically unfounded (ENDS Daily 18 December 2000) (ENDS Daily 13 September 2000).

Meanwhile in the UK, FoE last year challenged the UK government's right to grant national seed listing status to a T25 variety called Chardon LL. The listing was blocked when problems were discovered in French data supporting it (ENDS Daily 10 November 2000).

Follow Up:
FoE Europe, tel: +32 2 542 0180, T25 report; Aventis crop science.

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