The majority of European governments voted on Monday against allowing two grades of GM Maize varieties, Pioneer’s 1507 and Syngenta’s Bt11. EU countries were also asked to vote on the renewal of the only GMO crop currently allowed to be grown in the EU, MON 810 by Monsanto.
All three GMO crops have been modified to produce insecticide in their own cells. The two new crops can also tolerate being sprayed with glufosinate, a highly toxic herbicide produced by Bayer.
Monsanto’s MON810, which produces toxins that kill pests, is already banned in 17 EU countries, and grown on less than 1% of EU agricultural land.
Thirteen member states voted to reject the new crops, while eight voted in favor. Twelve voted to remove the one existing GM crop from EU fields and ten to keep it. However, despite the convincing rejection of new GMO crops, neither decision met the “qualified majority” to block them and it is now up to the European Commission to decide what to do next. They will choose whether to proceed with the authorization or withdraw it.
Talking about the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “He can put himself on the side of the majority of countries, citizens and farmers who do not want genetically modified crops, or he can back the mega-corporations behind the industrialization of our countryside,” she said.