The European Ombudsman has ordered the European Commission (EC) to follow statutory timelines on genetically modified (GM) authorisations, a decision which has been welcomed by FEFAC, the EU feed industry body.
The ombudsman, responding to a “maladministration allegation” against the EC in relation to its GM authorisation approach, dating from October 2014, found that the commission had “failed” to meet the three months legally binding deadline for submitting draft decisions to the Standing Committee on plants, animals, food and feed and that it had failed to take its decisions within a reasonable time following the failure of the Appeal Committee to deliver an opinion.
“These failures constituted maladministration,” said the ombudsman, further expressing “trust” that the commission will now “seek to comply with the existing legal requirements regarding the timescales for dealing with applications for the authorisation of GM food and feed”.
FEFAC, commenting alongside EuropaBio, the biotechnology industry body, and COCERAL, the grain traders organisation, welcomed the decision, adding that it was “pleased” that the commission has started approving EFSA risk assessed GM events for food and feed imports within reasonable time limits again.
FEFAC also said it would continue to call for a functioning, evidence-based EU policy on GMs.