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Gm Crops

Volume 403: debated on Monday 10 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she will support the 18 applications for marketing consents for GM crops and foods under consideration by the European Commission. [100867]

The United Kingdom has not yet reached an opinion on any of the 19 applications to place GMOs on the market under EU directive 2001/18. Each application is considered initially by the member state where the GMO is to be placed on the market for the first time. Once the lead member state is satisfied that the application complies with the directive it is passed to the other member states with an assessment report. The UK will consider each application on its own merits on a case-by-case basis using the criteria laid down in the EU legislation. The Government's view will be informed by the advice of its relevant independent expert groups, the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment and the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, together with advice from the statutory nature conservation bodies, the Food Standards Agency and the Health and Safety Executive. If the UK has comments or reasoned objections to the placing on the market of the GMO in question these will be forwarded to the European Commission. A collective decision will then be taken by member states as to whether or not the GMO in question should be placed on the market in accordance with the provisions of the Directive.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the public debate on genetically modified organisms will be concluded. [100868]

The Public Debate Steering Board is due to submit its report on the debate to Government by the end of September.