The European Parliament opposed the European Commission plans to authorise five GMO products, maize Bt11, 1507 and MON810 (seeds and products), and a glyphosate-resistant cotton, in a vote on Thursday. MEPs reiterated their call for a reform of the EU’s GMO authorisation procedure.
The five non-binding resolutions were tabled by objectors Bart Staes (Greens/EFA, BE), Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, FI), Guilliaume Balas (S&D, FR), Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL, IE) and Eleonora Evi (EFDD, IT).
Butterflies and moths
MEPs worry that maize Bt11 and maize 1507 could harm “non-target” species of butterflies and moths. They question the concept, introduced by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of an “acceptable local mortality” of non-target lepidopteran species.
The EFSA assessment of maize MON 810 seeds lacks data, say MEPs, who point out that possible cross-contamination by an invasive plant carrying Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin, used as a pesticide, poses “major risks for farmers and the environment”.
In the cases of MON810 products and genetically modified cotton 281-24-236 × 3006-210-23 × MON 88913 (DAS-24236-5×DAS-21Ø23-5×MON-88913-8), MEPs point out that GMOs are now being authorised in the EU by the Commission, without the support of opinions of member state committees. This was supposed to be an exception to the usual decision-taking procedure, but has in fact become the norm.
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 2015. 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.