BioWorld International Correspondent

BRUSSELS, Belgium - A European Parliament debate on genetically modified organisms scheduled to take place Dec. 19 was postponed to Jan. 22 after the Parliament's agricultural committee raised numerous objections to what many of its members saw as a pro-GM bias in the text of the proposed motion.

The committee has called for 190 amendments to the original text.

The objections are being claimed as a partial victory by the increasingly influential anti-GM group calling itself the International Coalition for Protection of the Polish Countryside (ICPPC), which for more than a year has been campaigning energetically for widespread bans on GM crops in Poland and across Europe. It is orchestrating a mass-mailing of parliamentarians to boost opposition to GMOs.

Some parliamentarians already have responded enthusiastically to the ICPPC campaign. French Socialist Bernadette Bourzai not only has promised to vote against any motion that unduly backs the biotechnology industry, but has also initiated a GM-free zone in the town of Egletons, of which she is mayor, in the French region of Limousin.

Meanwhile, Irish members Liam Aylward, Kathy Sinnott and Marian Harkin, have strongly criticized the draft resolution as "replete with biotech industry bias and misinformation." Polish member Bernard Wojciekowski has called for the resolution to be withdrawn in its entirety.