GM corn could make the menu

Greece will be called upon to reassess its policy on genetically modified (GM) corn in Luxembourg later this month, according to environmental campaigners, and could be cornered into approving the foodstuff under pressure from its European Union peers. Environmentalists Greenpeace said yesterday that Greece’s position on keeping the country’s door shut to the modified corn will come under fire at the a meeting of agricultural ministers later this month. «We (Greece) haven’t managed to create sufficient alliances at a European level which would give us support to stop the invasion of genetically modified food items,» Greenpeace’s Myrto Pispinis told Kathimerini. The corn does not meet the basic safety measures implemented by the EU; however, authorities have failed to take into account these findings and do not intend to even adopt a commonly used monitoring system, according to Greenpeace. The US-based Monsanto Company produces the genetically modified corn seeds MON863 x MON810 which is used for animal feed and has been altered to provide resistance to pests. European consumers have generally been reluctant to accept genetically modified food items despite manufacturers’ insistence that they are safe. Worldwide, genetically modified beet, potato, soya and tomato have already been introduced. Last month a committee of national experts from the 25 member states blocked the approval of Monsanto’s hybrid corn seeds with seven countries voting in favor and 12 voting against. The rest abstained. The meeting of agricultural ministers when the issue will be discussed again is scheduled to take place between October 24 and 25. The EU’s policy of requiring scientific and political backing for new genetically modified products has been challenged by the US, Argentina and Canada before the World Trade Organization on the grounds that it inhibits trade. All genetically modified seed varieties have to be approved and authorized by the EU after positive scientific assessment.