Europe imports GM soy

The European Commission has authorized imports of Bayer CropScience's genetically modified (GM) soybean, an approval that will help ease a shortage of animal feed (Nat. Biotechnol. 25, 1065–1066, 2007) and bolster commercial ties with major GM crop-growing countries such as the US, Canada and Argentina. The A2704-12 soybean produced by the Mannheim, Germany–based company, engineered to resist Liberty, a glufosinate herbicide, is the first soybean approval in ten years. The decision announced in September is only a partial victory for the biotech industry, as it does not mark a change of heart about GM crops on the part of the European government but rather is a default approval. EU law allows for 'rubber stamp' approvals when countries cannot agree on an application; this one for A2704-12 follows inconclusive talks among EU farm ministers in May. “We are delighted whenever the EU system approves one of our member's products,” says Willy deGreef, secretary general of EuropaBio. “It is clear that, with a shortfall of 30 to 40 million tonnes a year, the EU needs to import very large amounts of soybean. However, why do we need this incentive from the agricultural sector when these soybeans, and other GM products in the pipeline, have already had a positive opinion from European food safety authorities?” Europe's feed and livestock manufacturing industries are keen to see more GM soy imports approved as they rely on soy products as a high-quality protein source. In September, EU ministers clashed over authorizing imports of Monsanto's second-generation GM product MON 89799 resistant to Roundup Ready herbicides for use in feed.


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Aldridge, S. Europe imports GM soy. Nat Biotechnol 26, 1209 (2008).

Download citation