Plans to authorise five genetically modified organism (GMO) products by the European Commission have been opposed by the European Parliament.

A vote by MEPs on Thursday, October 6, decided against approving maize Bt11, maize 1507 and MON810 (seeds and products), and a glyphosate-resistant cotton.

Meanwhile, the MEPs reiterated their call for a reform of the European Union's GMO authorisation procedure.

The MEPs main worry surrounding the GMO maize products, maize Bt11 and maize 1507, is that they could harm “non-target” species of butterflies and moths.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessment of maize MON 810 seeds lacks data, the MEPs also say.

The European Parliament outlined that the possible cross-contamination by an invasive plant carrying Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin, used as a pesticide, poses “major risks for farmers and the environment”.

In the case of MON810 products and genetically modified cotton MEPs pointed out that GMOs are now being authorised in the EU by the Commission, without the support of opinions of Member State committees.

This was supposed to be an exception to the usual decision-taking procedure, but has in fact become the norm, it says.

Back in October 2015, a separate EU law that would enable any member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by the European Parliament.

MEPs are concerned that this law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro-GMO and anti-GMO countries, the Parliament indicated.

GMO news in the US

Meanwhile, US farmer lawsuits against Swiss company Syngenta have been given the go ahead to proceed as a class action by a District Court in Kansas.

The lawsuits against the global agro-chemical company focus on the sale of biotech corn seeds, Viptera and Duracade, which had not been approved to enter the Chinese market.

These corn seeds contained a genetically modified trait, known as ‘MIR 162,’ that reportedly controls certain insects, according to the case report.

Corn with this trait has entered US corn stocks but has not been approved for import by the Chinese government, which has led to a complete ban on US corn being imposed, the report indicates.