MEPs have called on the European Commission to withdraw its authorisations for the use of herbicide-resistant GM maize and carnations.

Two non-binding resolutions MEPs voted on this week in the EU said that the GM maize is resistant to glyphosate, which they said is classified as “probably carcinogenic” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Furthermore they said that authorising GM carnations would encourage the worldwide use of a diabetes medicine as a herbicide.

In Brussels this week, MEPs objected, by 426 votes to 202 with 33 abstentions, to a proposal to authorise the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize Bt11 × MIR162 × MIR604 × GA21, and genetically modified maizes combining two or three of the events Bt11, MIR162, MIR604 and GA21.

MEPs also voted by 430 votes to 188, with 33 abstentions, to a European Commission implementing decision in which it proposed to authorise the import, distribution and retailing in the EU of cut flowers of the genetically modified (GM) carnation SHD-27531-4, which is resistant to sulfonylurea herbicide, for ornamental use.

MEPs point out that sulfonylureas, which are a common second line option for managing type two diabetes, are also used as herbicides, as they are highly toxic to plants at very low doses.

So “creating a market for sulfonylurea resistant plants will encourage the worldwide use of this medicine against diabetes as a herbicide”, possibly entailing “worldwide detrimental effects on biodiversity and chemical contamination of drinking water”, they said.

MEPs pointed out that since the current GM authorisation process came into force, every GM authorisation decision has been taken by the Commission without the support of a qualified majority of EU Member States.

Last October the European Parliament rejected a separate draft EU law that would enable any EU Member State to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory.

MEPs are concerned that this law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries. In turn, they called on the Commission to table a new proposal on the issue.