The European Commission has authorised the sale of thee GM maize lines, two of which will be used in food and ingredients (GA21 and MON863), while imports of the third (MON863x810) were authorised for industrial processing. The authorisations are the result of applications by GM producer Monsanto and will remain valid for 10 years.

The GA21 maize is designed to be tolerant to herbicides while MON863 is engineered to be resistant to corn root borer. The three GM maize crops are not licensed for cultivation in the EU.

In line with EU labelling and traceability rules, any products containing the maize will have to indicate the presence of GM ingredients.

The decision, which was made by the Commission after the council failed to reach a qualified majority to either approve or reject the GMOs, has drawn considerable heat from environmental groups.

“GM crops have failed, yet the Commission continues to authorize Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the EU despite there being no EU law protecting conventional and organic farming from genetic pollution,” said Helen Holder, GMO campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth. “The EU Commission is going against the wish of European citizens, and does not have the required majority support from Member States for GMO approvals”, she added.