European Commission Approves GM Soybeans
by Sarah Day Levesque
On April 24, the European Commission approved 17 biotech traits for import, including high-oleic soybeans. Plenish and Vistive-gold soybean varieties, along with dicamba-tolerant and omega-3 soybeans, were among the 17 traits that waited an average of 69 months before gaining approval.
In a statement following the approvals, ASA First Vice President Richard Wilkins, a soybean farmer from Greenwood, Del said, “On the one hand, we’re happy to see these traits finally receive Commission approval after years of delay…On the other hand, however, this announcement means little if the EU persists in its current unscientific and delayed approval process for new varieties developed through biotechnology. Today more than 40 additional GM applications for import, submitted by various companies, remain pending in the EU system.
“Additionally, the action taken by the EU Commission earlier this week that would allow each of the EU’s 28 member states to “opt-out” of allowing imports of a fully approved, safe GM product is a giant step backwards. We believe that if that proposal is adopted, it would be in clear violation of the EU’s obligations under the World Trade Organization and would negatively impact U.S. soy exports to Europe.
“Again, any time we see the progress of modern agricultural biotechnology furthered by an approval for import in a foreign market, that’s a step forward, and our farmers benefit. But on the whole, this week has shown that we still have a long way to go in Europe.”