Genetically modified (GM) crops that have not been approved in Europe could be allowed into the British food chain for the first time after a vote in Brussels decided to let in contaminated shipments of animal feed.
Previously the EU had a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to unauthorised GM. Shipments found to contain any trace of GM that was not yet approved in Europe were turned back at the port.
However in a significant victory for the GM lobby member states voted to allow imports containing up to 0.1 per cent of unauthorised seed.
Europe imported 33 million tonnes of soy last year, mostly approved GM varieties for animal feed.
If the vote is allowed through by the European Parliament and Council, which is likely, those shipments could contain GM seeds that are authorised in a “third country” but may not even have been tested in Europe.
Dr Helen Wallace of Genewatch said some of the unauthorised seeds have been bred to have certain traits for industry that may be inappropriate in the food chain.