BioWorld International Correspondent
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union has given conditional clearance to imports of corn gluten feed and brewers grain from the U.S. - with the provision that Syngenta International AG foot the bill for checking and certifying that shipments contain none of the company's unauthorized Bt10.
That eases the emergency controls on GM maize products that the EU introduced on April 18, after it emerged that Bt10 had slipped accidentally into U.S. production.
On April 25, the EU's scientific research center confirmed that a detection method from Genescan - developed on behalf of Basel, Switzerland-based Syngenta - could at last reliably detect Bt10. EU spokesman Philip Tod said that the availability of the test meant that member states could now resume imports, once the consignments have been cleared in the U.S. Imports will have to be accompanied by a certificate from an ISO-accredited laboratory that has used the EU-validated detection method to ensure the absence of Bt10.
"The expectation is that from now on exports from the U.S. will be checked before they leave there," he said. "Syngenta will assure controls, and member states with concerns over imports have at their disposal a validated detection method to control any imports they have concerns about."
No other products are covered by the EU's precautionary measures, despite earlier-expressed concerns over corn oil, Tod confirmed. But the situation still is being monitored and further EU measures are not ruled out. European Public Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou discussed the emergency measures with agriculture ministers from the EU's 25 member states in Luxembourg Tuesday. The EU measure "was adopted to uphold EU law and maintain consumer confidence in response to the possible presence of the unauthorized GMO Bt10 in imports of these products from the United States," Tod said.