A vote on allowing genetically modified cut flowers to be imported into the EU for the first time could allow Suntory-owned Florigene to export carnations genetically modified for petal colour and herbicide tolerance.
EC 2001/18 regulatory appeals committee will look again at the application on 7 April. Sixteen member states need to agree for the move to be allowed, with 55 per cent of the EU population represented. In the first poll 11 voted yes, but several countries did not attend the vote so there was no majority.
The UK voted in favour for the potential for each country in Europe to import the flowers. Defra broadly supports the idea that individual countries should be able to make up their own minds with GM.
A Defra representative said: "We are supportive of the opportunities GM could bring for British businesses, farmers and consumers that will provide them with increased choice and access to the latest technologies."
There was no qualified majority in a vote on 16 March. The process, which began in 2009 but stalled, has now restarted.
The scope of the consent is for the import, distribution and retailing of cut carnation flowers.
The notification to market GM carnation lines IFD-25958-3 and IFD-26407-2 was made by Florigene in 2009 under Directive 2001/18/EC to the Netherlands' competent authority.
These are now at the second stage of the EU decision-making process - they have been assessed by the lead member state (the Netherlands) and other member states have had the opportunity to comment.
Based on the advice of the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, the Food Standards Agency and the Health & Safety Executive, the UK issued an opinion to the commission on the notification to market the two GM carnation lines in December 2009.
This supported the Netherlands' proposal to issue consent for the GM carnation lines.
Carnation lines - Draft commission decision
Draft commission decision on the placing on the market of Florigene's carnation lines:
"The Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) first considered this application in September 2009 and advised that consent should be issued. In December 2009 ACRE assessed the further information from the applicant (requested by other member states). This information did not change their original opinion. The application passed to the regulatory committee."