The European Commission has today issued the first new cultivation authorisation for a genetically-modified plant variety in 12 years. Newly installed EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner John Dalli today gave a green light to the "Amflora" potato variety (intended principally for industrial applications) which is produced by German pharmaceutical company BASF.
German Green MEP Martin Häusling, a member of the EU Parliament Agriculture Committee, commented:
I am shocked that Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner John Dalli has only needed weeks in his new position to show such flagrant support for industry interests ahead of his own portfolio. His decision to authorise the Amflora potato variety flies in the face of the 70% of consumers who are against GM food, as well as the anti-GM position of the European Parliament.
"There are serious concerns about an Amflora gene that is resistant to antibiotics, including one recognised by the World Health Organisation and others essential to medicine, for example in the treatment of tuberculosis. Serious doubts remain on possible consequences for human health and the environment. Since certain non-GM varieties have already proved to have the same characteristics sought by Amflora, I can only conclude that its authorisation is at best unnecessary and at worst dangerous."