EU digs in its heels over GM products

Ministerial session reveals rising support for keeping moratorium on product approvals

Biotechnology firms could have to wait three years or more before EU governments allow new genetically-modified (GM) crops and foods to be approved, it emerged during a meeting of EU environment ministers in Luxembourg today. European environment commissioner Margot Wallström described the development as "very disturbing".

The European Commission has been making increasing efforts to end the three-year moratorium, which it believes is illegal. With many governments wanting to wait until a newly proposed regulation on traceability and labelling of GM products is in place, it has promoted interim voluntary introduction of these measures by industry. In September, commissioners called on EU ministers to "show leadership" and drop the moratorium (EED 20/09/01).

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