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EU declines to persuade African nations that biotech food aid is safe

(Aug. 22, 2002 -- CropChoice news) -- The European Union has declined requests from the United States to reassure southern African countries, where 13 million people face starvation, that the genetically modified corn it wants to donate is safe.

Most of the world's genetically engineered crops are grown in the United States, whereas the European Union severely restricts them. In recent years, the Europeans have looked to African countries like Zimbabwe -- one of the states facing a food shortage because of drought, floods and economic mismanagement by the Mugabe regime -- for non-genetically engineered corn.

In shying away from the U.S. donation, the leaders of Zimbabwe and Zambia cited the possibility that some of the biotech corn kernels would be planted rather than eaten, which could spread those traits to their conventional corn. That, in turn, could push the EU to look elsewhere for corn.

Source: Reuters, AFP