26 February 1998
EU investigates claim of illegal gene-maize imports

By FWi staff

EUROPEAN Union officials are investigating claims that the Dutch and German Governments have breached EU laws restricting imports of genetically-modified maize.

According to environmental campaigners, samples of genetically-modified maize have been found in a cargo of maize gluten which arrived in Amsterdam from the United States.

The Greenpeace environmental group said tests conducted in Germany showed that the maize contained live genetic material, which is banned under EU law.

Dutch authorities denied the allegation, saying that the maize gluten had been heat-treated to destroy any live organisms.

But a spokesman for EU Environment Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard has asked Dutch and German officials to release all information regarding the exact contents of the cargoes.

“If any member state is in breach of EU legislation then the Commission will take any necessary measures to initiate proceedings,” the spokesman said.