In spite of their massive mobilisation, importers and manufacturers of animal feed and the European agrifoods industry have so far failed to secure any easing of the monitoring scheme imposed by the European Union to prevent unauthorised GMOs from entering the EU market, even in minute traces. At a meeting of the biotechnology consultative forum convened in late December by the European Commission's services, in the presence of the usual professional organisations as well as representatives of the United States and Argentina, the EU executive said the idea had not been dropped.

The Union's health commissioner is nevertheless not in a hurry to see it materialise. Androulla Vassiliou seems to have decided to drag her feet as long as possible on the issue to avoid presenting a proposal in due form before the end of her term of office, as sought by Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Her services, which are very evasive on the proposal, say only that a solution is still in the study and internal consultation phase. The text could take the form of technical guidelines on the sampling and analysis methods used at the Union's borders. A performance criterion, for example, could be set at 0.1%. However, the question of whether checks would be eased for both feed and foods has not been settled, they note.

The European agriculture ministers will be consulted, on 19 January, on the marketing of two new GMOs, one for oilseed rape...

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