Greenpeace alleges illegal GM maize trade

Group claims EU countries importing live modified maize from USA, authorities find no evidence

Environmental group Greenpeace today wrote to EU environment commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard for the second time in a week asking her to take action against the Netherlands for failing to stop imports of American genetically modified maize which it describes as "illegal". Greenpeace says that tests on maize recently imported to the Netherlands showed that they contained live seeds from genetically modified maize plants. It says the maize was subsequently transported to Germany and other EU countries. The import of live GMOs into the EU has to be approved under EU law. So far, only one variety of modified maize, developed by Novartis, has this authorisation. But Greenpeace alleges that the shipments also contain other varieties of modified maize that have been approved in the USA. A spokesperson for the Dutch authorities said that its tests on the shipments could find no evidence of living organisms and the shipments were therefore not illegal. Moreover, he said even if live GMOs had been found, there was no available test to distinguish between varieties of maize. A spokesperson for EU environment commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard told ENDS Daily that the Commission had written to member states asking them to watch for illegal imports of modified maize, and that it had asked Dutch and German authorities to clarify the steps they had taken to check imports.

Follow Up:
Greenpeace, tel: +31 20 523 6222.

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