Europe approves genetically-modified potato after 13-year "hiatus" on GM food

The European Commission has approved a series of genetically-modified crops, including a selection of maize varieties and a potato named Amflora.

The approvals, made on Tuesday, mark the end of a 13-year deadlock in which no GM foods were given the green light by law makers in Brussels because of the strong anti-GM sentiment in some parts of Europe.

Amflora is bred by BASF and will be grown for the production of industrial starch.

While it is not expected to be produced in the UK, the UK-based Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), which represents firms including BASF, Bayer CropScience and Monsanto, hailed this week's decision as "ending the long hiatus on approving new GM crops in the EU."

ABC chairman Dr Julian Little said: "We welcome [the] decision by the Commission to approve a GM crop for cultivation after it has spent 13 years trapped in a dysfunctional regulatory system. We are hopeful today's decision represents a turning point in the EU towards a more rigorous focus on science and a recognition of the benefits these technologies can bring to European farmers and the environment, as it already brings to millions of farmers around the world."

He added: "If we are serious about allowing UK farmers to produce high quality, affordable food for consumers while safeguarding our natural resources, they must be given the freedom to choose modern, efficient farming methods based on tried and tested science, including the use of GM crops."

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