Pioneer Hi-Bred

European Commission Continues Unnecessary Delay of 1507 Maize Cultivation Application - EU Approval Process not Being Followed by the Commission

    Brussels, Belgium (ots/PRNewswire) -

    Today the European Commissioners supported the continued and unnecessary delay in the European Union approval of 1507 maize for cultivation. The Commissioners have supported a proposal to send the application back to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for a record third opinion.

    "The 1507 maize cultivation application was submitted nearly seven years ago, has received two positive safety opinions from the EFSA, but the Commission continues to ignore EU procedures by failing to send this application to EU Member States for a vote. After more than three years since the first positive safety opinion by the EFSA, the time has come for the Commission to live up to the rules the EU set for the approval of biotech crops," said Gyula Kovacs, Pioneer Europe director of Operations.

    The 1507 maize cultivation application has been approved as safe by the European Food Safety Authority twice already (Jan. 2005 and Nov. 2006). Furthermore, from November 2007 to January 2008 (Minutes of EFSA GMO Panel meetings 37th, 38th and 39th), EFSA evaluated the new scientific publications raised by DG ENVI and concluded that they provided no new scientific evidence of any adverse effect. EFSA stated that there is no reason to require a re-assessment or amendment of its previous positive scientific opinions on the safety of 1507 maize for cultivation.

    Studies in Europe have shown that the benefits for European farmers by growing 1507 maize in areas of insect pressure could range from euro 20 to euro 250 per hectare in addition to savings from no longer needing to use insecticides. "At a time when global demand for grain has never been so high and will keep growing, it is critical that the EU Commission act to approve agriculture products for cultivation in Europe that will contribute to increasing the quantity and quality of European agricultural produce and thus avoid the far-reaching consequences of food price increases," continued Kovacs.

    1507 maize is genetically modified with the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) trait to provide an environmentally-friendly means of protecting maize plants against destructive insect attacks. 1507 maize helps reduce the use of pesticides and, because it produces more grain on the same land area, it improves farm productivity and profitability -- sustainable agriculture in practice. Furthermore, 1507 maize does not contain an antibiotic resistance marker gene and the Bt protein as contained in 1507 maize has a long history of safe use by organic farmers.

    "In 2007, there were more than 110,000 hectares of Bt maize planted in Europe by thousands of farmers. Contrary to the main objectives of the European Union, the unexplained delays in approving 1507 maize for cultivation has resulted in strengthening a de facto monopoly in favour of the MON810 technology, meaning that EU farmers have been denied the choice of effective alternatives," concluded Kovacs.

    Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, is the world's leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics in nearly 70 countries.

    DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

    Note to Editors:

    1. 1507 maize cultivation application timeline:

    The 1507 maize import and processing, including animal feed use dossieri (Ref: C/NL/00/10) was submitted by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.  (a DuPont subsidiary) as represented by Pioneer Overseas Corporation, and by Mycogen Seeds, (a Dow AgroSciences subsidiary).

@@start.t1@@      -- Dossier submitted under Directive 90/220/EEC to the Spanish Competent
          Authority in July 2001
      -- Dossier updated under Dir 2001/18/EC in December 2002
      -- Spanish Competent Authority issued a positive safety assessment in
          August 2003:
          http://gmoinfo.jrc.it/csnifs/C-ES-01-01_AssessmentReport.pdf
      -- EFSA adopted a positive safety opinion on the dossier on 19 January
          2005:
      http://www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/efsa_locale-1178620753812_1178620771053.htm
      -- The European Commission requested EFSA provide an additional opinion
          in August 2006
      -- Second positive opinion from EFSA, re-affirming its previous opinion
          issued in November 2006:
      -- Commissioner Dimas continues to delay approval by refusing to draft a
          decision recommending approval based on positive safety opinion by
          EFSA -- ongoing.@@end@@

    2. Summary of safety of 1507 maize:

    "1507 maize meets the latest EU regulatory requirements, part of which were the condition for the termination of the EU moratorium on new GMO approvals":

@@start.t2@@      -- 1507 maize meets all the latest EU safety evaluations
      -- Bt has a long history of safe use for more than 40 years, including by
          organic growers
      -- The Cry1F and PAT proteins expressed in 1507 maize are not toxic or
          allergenic to humans and animals
      -- The Cry1F protein confers resistance to target insect pests and
          reduces the need for spraying
      -- 1507 maize contains no antibiotic resistance marker gene (Instead, the
          PAT protein conferring tolerance to glufosinate-ammonium herbicide was
          used as the selectable genetic marker.)
      -- 1507 maize poses no concerns with hybridisation with wild populations
          in the EU
      -- 1507 maize is substantially and nutritionally equivalent to, and as
          safe as, conventional maize
      -- No adverse environmental impact of 1507 maize compared to conventional
          maize
        Contact:
        Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business
        Mr. Mike Hall
        Communications Manager, Europe
        Tel. +41-91-610-9063 (direct)
        Mob. +41-79-755-8153
        mike.hall@Pioneer.com@@end@@

ots Originaltext: Pioneer Hi-Bred
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch

Contact:
Mr. Mike Hall, Communications Manager, Europe, Pioneer Hi-Bred,
+41-91-610-9063, mobile, +41-79-755-8153, mike.hall@Pioneer.com



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