Since June 1999, Austria had prohibited the import, processing and cultivation of the lines MON810 and T25 from the Monsanto and Bayer companies and justified this decision with reasons of health protection. Since then, the Commission has decided that the import and processing of both lines must be permitted and, in the case that this does not occur, has raised the possibility of legal consequences. The Commission responded thereby to concerns of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which demands that scientifically unfounded trade barriers to genetically modified products in the European Union be lifted. Addressing the Commission, scientists have attested to the safety of both maize types for human beings and the environment.
The Austrian Minister of Health, Andrea Kdolsky, announced the formation of a research advisory council to assay “Risk Research and Use-of-Potential Analysis in Green Gene Technology”. The minister emphasised that the council is expected to provide “qualitatively valuable arguments” with regard to future approval processes, “in order to effect prohibition throughout Europe”.