BASF slams EFSA delay on Amflora safety decision

10 December 2008 15:54  [Source: ICIS news]

PARIS (ICIS news)--German chemicals major BASF criticised on Wednesday the decision by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to delay its opinion on whether the genetically modified (GM) starch potato is safe for commercial use. 

EFSA said today that it would not complete its opinion on nptII, an antibiotic resistant marker gene used in Amflora, by 15 December as previously announced.

The European Commission has granted EFSA an extension to 31 March 2009.

“This delay means that commercial cultivation of Amflora will not be possible in 2009 and will deprive European farmers and the potato starch industry of €100-200m in income,” said Stefan Marcinowski, a member of BASF’s board of executive directors.

“There is no scientific evidence that questions the safety of Amflora,” he added, blaming the delay on “European commissioners’ political motivations”.

The Commission failed to approve Amflora in May and asked EFSA to carry out a fifth safety assessment on the gene, provoking BASF to file a court action against the Commission for delaying the approval process.

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By: Philippa Jones
+44 20 8652 3214

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