European Union Gives Go-Ahead to GM Corn

In a highly symbolic move, the European Union yesterday approved the first genetically modified seeds for planting and sale across E.U. territory, outraging greens and defying public opinion (70 percent of E.U. citizens oppose GM food). The European Commission approved 17 varieties of GM corn developed by U.S. biotech behemoth Monsanto, marking a decisive end to a de facto biotech ban that’s been in effect in the E.U. since 1998. Enviros expressed dismay that the commission did not issue E.U.-wide guidelines for keeping GM, conventional, and organic crops separated. “[T]he widespread contamination of conventional crops is highly likely, posing a massive threat to Europe’s food, farming, and environment,” said Geert Ritsema of Friends of the Earth. In slightly happier news for Euro-greens, the commission abandoned an earlier plan to allow some percentage of GM seeds in food without labeling, unable to agree on a percentage after three years of debate. The decision will be passed to the next commission, which takes office in November.