21 October 2000 Bloomberg By James Neuger in Brussels
Monsanto Co, Novartis AG and AgrEvo GmbH failed to win approval to sell four genetically modified foods in Italy, as a European Union committee upheld the Italian Government's ban.
Germany, Denmark, Greece and Austria had sided with Italy in a meeting of food experts from the 15 EU governments, an EU official said.
Italy banned the gene-altered maize in August, citing possible risks to human health. Environmentalists welcomed the defeat of "fast-track" approval of gene-altered products. The notion that engineered food was the same as regular food "has been proven to be ambiguous and scientifically unsound", said Brigid Gavin, genetic engineering adviser for Greenpeace.
No new gene-modified product has obtained EU marketing rights since 1998, while five EU countries have banned already approved products.
The European Commission said it would attempt again to jump-start the process by making new proposals to monitor the risks.
Monsanto had sought to market two types of gene-modified maize in Italy. Novartis and AgrEvo had each sought to market one.