Slow-moving political wheels halt advances

10 October 1997

Slow-moving political wheels halt advances

POLITICAL paralysis is stalling the advance of genetically modified crops in Europe, says Windsor Griffiths, head of biotechnology regulatory affairs at AgrEvo.

The company has applied seven times to the EC in the past 30 months to get permission to release the fruits of genetic engineering, he claimed. Each time the product, mostly oilseed rape, has already been cleared by one of four member states.

"But once it is with the commission it grinds to a halt," said Mr Griffiths. The aim of the directive covering such releases is that a decision should be made within 150-200 days, he added. "In some cases we have been waiting 900 days.

It makes planning very difficult and doesnt help consumer perceptions. It also compares unfavourably with the US, Canada and Japan."

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