The German government recently abstained in a vote on allowing EU imports of genetically engineered plants; and thereby effectively smoothed the way for the business interests of Bayer and Dow AgroSciences. These companies want the EU to approve two new genetically engineered soybeans for import and usage in food and feed. Both these new soybean plants have been engineered to be resistant to three herbicides known to leave residues in the harvest. According to the data available, consumption of the soybeans is likely to pose health risks.
In the vote on import approval for a new variety of genetically engineered soybeans in Brussels on 12 July, Germany was the only country which abstained. According to well informed experts, 15 countries – such as France, Italy, Poland and Austria – voted against the authorisation, 12 countries – such as UK and Spain – were in favour. Just a day before the vote, the Committee on the Environment of the EU Parliament demanded that the import and use of these soybeans in food and feed was rejected. Despite all concerns, the EU Commission is expected to approve the authorisation.