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02-August-2010 Manila Bulletin
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BRUSSELS (AFP) — European regulators authorised on Wednesday the import of six types of genetically-modified maize for use in animal feed after governments were deadlocked over whether to ban or approve them.

The European Union has been divided for years over genetically-modified foods and the European Commission has proposed new rules aiming to break an impasse that has severely limited the cultivation of such crops.

Agriculture ministers meeting last month in Luxembourg were unable to reach a qualified majority on maize from US biotech firms Monsanto and Pioneer, and Swiss company Syngenta to be used for feeding animals, not cultivation.

Under European Union rules, the decision was passed on to the European Commission, which gave the six maize types the green light because they were scientifically-sound, a commission spokesman said.

Two weeks ago, the EU's executive arm proposed new rules that would give individual EU states the ultimate power to ban or grow genetically-modified crops.

“One of the reasons that the commission came up with its proposals a few weeks ago to change the whole system was to get past the deadlock,” Roger Waite, a commission spokesman for agriculture, told a news briefing.

“The hope is that the new rules that will apply will get past this problem about member states that like GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) and those that don't like GMOs,” Waite said.

The authorizations for the maize that won approval for animal feed on Wednesday are valid for 10 years. One of them, Syngenta's Bt11 maize, was up for renewal while the five others were new authorizations.

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