US deputy commerce secretary Samuel Bodman has criticised a recent shift in the stance of the European Union towards GM organisms. Earlier this month a new EU directive came into force that gives member states guidelines on how to handle requests by biotech companies to market GM food. Seven EU countries have banned the introduction of GM organisms since 1999, namely Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg. These governments can use the directive as the basis for a decision on whether to lift the ban.