Robert Zoellick, the Bush administration’s chief trade official, is calling on the U.S. to challenge the European Union’s ban on genetically modified food. Zoellick claims the ban is both scientifically backward and “immoral,” arguing that it deprives starving people in the developing world of food. The U.S. and the E.U. have adopted polar positions when it comes to GM foods. The former says such food is not only safe but also an important tool in the fight against world hunger, while the latter is broadly suspicious of GM crops and fears that agribusiness is promoting them without adequate concern for potentially negative environmental and human health impacts. Zoellick says he lost patience with the European stance last year, when Zambia refused to accept genetically modified food from the U.S. to help fend off famine. The White House plans to decide by the end of the month whether to bring a case against the ban to the World Trade Organization.

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