EU clears biotech barrier to Canada rapeseed import

Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:20am EDT
 
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has authorized imports of a genetically modified (GM) rapeseed type, clearing the way for a resumption of oilseed trading with Canada, the EU's executive Commission said on Tuesday.

Developed by Germany's Bayer CropScience, the rapeseed -- known by its codenumber T45 -- is destined for use in food and animal feed, not for growing in European fields. The EU authorization will be valid the next 10 years.

T45 is designed to resist certain glufosinate-ammonium herbicides and was discontinued from commercial planting after the 2005 season. Only a small stock remains, in Canada.

"The authorization of this GM oilseed rape is important as it will allow the resumption of imports of oilseed rape in the EU from Canada," the European Commission said in a statement.

"The authorization is valid for 10 years, and any products derived from this GM oilseed rape will be subject to the EU's strict labeling and traceability rules," it said.

EU law allows for rubberstamp GMO authorizations when ministers cannot agree after a certain time. Since 2004, the Brussels-based European Commission has approved a string of GM products, nearly all maize, in this way, outraging green groups.

At their last meeting in January, EU agriculture ministers failed to reach a majority to approve Bayer's T45 application.

(Reporting by Jeremy Smith and Ingrid Melander, editing by Anthony Barker)

 
<p>A rapeseed field is pictured in the Swiss countryside near Aubonne May 3, 2008. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud</p>