EU Commission: Food and feed from another GM soybean approved

On 08 September 2008, the EU Commission provided approval for products made from the genetically modified soybean A2704-12. The placing on the market of food and feed from this soybean is thereby permitted, although the cultivation of the plant remains prohibited in the EU.

The soybean A2704-12 was developed by the Bayer CropScience company and displays resistance to herbicides containing the active ingredient glufosinate (LibertyLink). This line has been approved for cultivation for many years in the USA.

After the decision, A2704-12 soybeans now may be imported to the EU. Previously, as is the case with all unapproved GM plants in the EU, the soybeans in question were subject to the policy of "zero tolerance".

Upon conclusion of a safety assessment conducted by the responsible committee of experts, the European Food Safety Authority stated support in August for approval of the A2704-12 soybean. In the subsequent vote in the "Standing Committee for the Food Chain and Animal Health", EU Member States once again were unable to achieve consensus. Although a thirteen-state majority voted for approval, the requisite qualified majority was not fulfilled.

Since the Council of Ministers also was unable to provide an unequivocal decision, the EU Commission consequently has instituted the proposal for a decision that was presented in April 2008. The approval is limited to ten years.