The European Commission has authorised the placing on the market of foods and food ingredients derived from genetically modified maize line NK603 in accordance with the GM Food and Feed Regulation.

NK603 maize, a product of US biotech company Monsanto, has already been approved for import and for use as animal feed and for industrial processing. With both approvals in place, it is now possible to place on the market NK603 maize and derived products such as starch, oil, maize gluten feed and maize meal for food and feed use. However, the crop, which has been modified to make the maize tolerant to the herbicide glyphosphate, will be grown and harvested outside the EU.

In line with the new EU legislation on labelling, the maize and any product containing it will have to show clearly that it has been genetically modified. The Commission took the decision to authorise NK603 following the failure of the European Council either to approve or reject the Commission's proposal for authorisation.

Monsanto said it welcomed the European Commission's ruling on the maize, which is also known as Roundup Ready Corn 2.