European Parliament Opposes GM-resistant Carnation

13.06.2016 -

In two non-binding resolutions, the European Parliament has called on the European Commission (EC) to withdraw its authorizations for herbicide-resistant GM carnations and maize. Allowing GM carnations to be planted in the EU would encourage the worldwide use of a diabetes medicine as a herbicide, the EP said, adding that GM maize is resistant to the herbicide ingredient glyphosate.

In a vote of 430 to 188, with 33 abstentions, the plenary session objected to an EC decision to authorize the import, distribution and retailing in the EU of cut flowers of the genetically modified (GM) carnation SHD-27531-4, which is resistant to sulfonylurea herbicide.                                    

As the MEPs noted, sulfonylureas, a common second-line option for managing type 2 diabetes, are also used as herbicides, as they are highly toxic to plants at very low doses. Even if intended only for ornamental uses, creating a market for sulfonylurea-resistant plants could encourage the worldwide use of this medicine a herbicide with "worldwide detrimental effects on biodiversity and chemical contamination of drinking water,” they said.

On the question of authorizing the GM maize varieties made by Monsanto, the EP voted 426 to 202 with 33 abstentions against the EC’s proposal to allow the sale of products containing, consisting of or produced from genetically modified maize Bt11 × MIR162 × MIR604 × GA21 and genetically modified maizes combining two or three of the events Bt11, MIR162, MIR604 and GA21.

While some of these GM events confer tolerance to certain pests, the Parliament said the maize is resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup program seen by some, in particular the World Health Organization’s IARC arm, as a “probable carcinogen.”

Since the current GM authorization process came into force, every GM approval has been granted by the Commission “without the support of a qualified majority of EU member state,” the MEPs said.

As a decision on whether or how long to renew glyphosate’s EU registration has still not been made by representatives of the member states, the Commission may soon be put in the position of having to decide on this, too. The current authorization expires on Jun. 30.